I am shopping for a server, and the price difference between managed and unmanaged is huge, like 80%. The difference in the product seems to be that the managed server has all the core"service installed (LAMP stack, etc) and a control panel (cpanel, WHM, etc). And the provider supports the server. I'd like to find a disk image file or script I can run on a blank server that will install all the core services and configure them to the server specs with minimal effort on my part. I know I can install PHP, MySQL, Java one at a time - but I want them all. I would love to hear your suggestions?
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Buy a server with CentOS as the operating system. Then purchase WHM (also known as cPanel). The installation script for WHM will install absolutely everything you need and then some.