After nearly a decade (yikes) of hosting my personal websites and applications with a decent shared web hosting provider (the one in pittsburgh) I've decided its time to venture out on my own and try a virtual private server.
The one thing that's been holding me back is I know my shared web host has a number of custom built security/instruction-detection systems setup to deal with problems common to hosting clients who want to run PHP applications. I'm loath to give up that peace of mind, but the extend of my admin skills are doing cause/effect style exploration with configurations, and parsing through logs to see "oh, that's how they f---ed us".
That context set, if I was going to setup an account with a linux based VPS for Apache web hosting
What steps would I take to secure the machine?
What additional monitoring packages could/should I install?