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As context, I have recently built a website using ASP.NET MVC that is backed by SQL Server 2005 database. I am now looking to host this on a dedicated server and have found a suitable web host. So far so good.

As this is my first website I have extremely limited knowledge (read zero) of servers, how to configure them, what is best practice, pitfalls etc. Whilst I am willing to learn, right now I have no spare time as all my efforts are devoted into refactoring my web app, making functionality improvements etc.

My question is: am I just better paying my web host to take care of all server side issues for me?

I have taken a look at Plesk which appears to be a point-and-click way of managing your server set-up and configuration but it is unclear to me whether that will help with everything I need e.g. setting up forwarding email accounts, setting up SQL server etc. My web host is offering Plesk at ~$50 per month but I am not sure whether I will still need to get my fingers dirty with the server directly and makes me think I should take the other web hosts option of paying them to do everything?

Any thoughts on this? Is Plesk a viable option for somebody in my position?


EDIT - I would welcome any book / .pdf recommendations on getting started with windows server 2008 and configuring it for web applications etc. After some googling there seems to be a number of resources but being an abecedarian in this field it is hard to sort the wheat from the chaff and guidance from the scholars on this site would be greatly beneficial...


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right now I have no spare time as all my efforts are devoted into refactoring my web app, making functionality improvements etc.

I think that answers your question. It will take time to learn how to properly setup and maintain a webserver (regardless of OS) which you do not currently have. Choose a webhoster that will let you manage it on your own in the future when you have more free time. i wouldn't worry about the "how" (plesk etc) but find a hoster that's programmer friendly (orcsweb comes to mind but there are many other good ones)

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Thanks for your input. I spoke with my web host and then are going to set me up for a small cost and I have the option to manage things on my own when I get the chance to learn more about servers etc. Good result. –  Remnant Jul 8 '10 at 7:27

In the beginning I got a free license of plesk with my first VPS

After a few weeks I opted to completely uninstalled it - managing windows server directly via remote desktop it's, by paradox, way easier.

If you have plenty of free time, and you don't care about uptime, running a server by yourself it's better, you will learn a lot

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Thanks for you input. Right now time is something I don't have (see original post). Ideally I'd like to be in a position to interact directly with the server and get as close to the metal as possible. What software did you use for remote desktop access? –  Remnant Jul 6 '10 at 20:39
    
microsoft remote desktop connection client - it's free and preinstalled on every windows edition (but only pro and server edition has the server installed) –  Magnetic_dud Jul 7 '10 at 8:26

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