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I don't know a lot about hosting, I have mucked around with cpanel before and I'm fairly confident I wouldn't have any problems with domain registration, web hosting etc. But I'm more interested in having a server which I can install software packages on, make my own private git and mercurial origins, etc... i.e. I don't intend to simply just run apache or tomcat on port 80. I have seen some hosts allow you SSH access, but to actually install software packages don't you usually need some administrator rights?

I currently run some stuff on my desktop machine at home, which is on 24/7. I have set up port forwarding on my router and dynamic DNS so that I can access my devices and files remotely and also start and stop services. I am also running subsonic server for streaming my music to my phone and laptop over the net. I am using Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS. By looking at servers/hosting, I want the same benefits this gives me without the need to have a machine on 24/7 and without the downtime any time I move house or reboot my OS, etc.

When I install subsonic, for example, it's with something like sudo dpkg -i <somepackagefile.deb>, now if I was buying hosting/server space - I'm assuming I could scp the installers to my homedir - how would I start and run them (because I guess sudo isn't going to be allowed) and how do I satisfy dependencies without a nice package manager like apt?

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It sounds like you need dedecated server hosting based on your needs. Once you have the dedecated server purchased and setup you would do all the configuration yourself remotely. –  Ramhound Apr 30 '13 at 15:54
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@Ramhound Buying a dedicated server for personal music streaming strikes me as the very soul of overkill. –  Aaron Miller May 1 '13 at 15:06
    
@AaronMiller - I consider dedecated virtual severs hosting packages and physical servers hosting packages as one in the same anymore. –  Ramhound May 1 '13 at 15:15
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@Ramhound Understood, but that results in a term whose expansion is ambiguous; generally "dedicated server" refers to a physical box that you purchase along with colocation space for it, while "virtual private server" refers to a VM where you have root but which exists on somebody else's hardware. Using "dedicated server" to refer to both easily produces confusion such as that displayed in my prior comment. –  Aaron Miller May 1 '13 at 15:24
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

What you're really looking for isn't shared hosting, but a virtual private server, on which you have root and can do all the things you're describing.

I'm not affiliated with Linode save as a customer, but I recommend them unreservedly; I've had an account with them since 2004, and have in that time found them not merely reliable, but bulletproof, even at the basic $20/month tier.

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Minus that small problem of them getting hacked. it.slashdot.org/story/13/04/15/186248/… –  thirtythreeforty Apr 30 '13 at 17:45
    
@gh403 Nobody's perfect; everyone makes mistakes. I've heard nothing of any Linode customer coming to harm as a result of this one. If you're going to judge them by that, you should look at their side of the issue as well: blog.linode.com/2013/04/16/security-incident-update Speaking as a professional in the field, I've had nothing but respect for their response to the incident. –  Aaron Miller Apr 30 '13 at 17:50
    
Thanks! Virtual private server is the google term I needed to know. That sounds much more like what I'm looking for. Do companies generally guarantee your data is stored with redundancy? –  wim May 1 '13 at 9:24
    
@wim I can't say with certainty, and of course you're always best off with your own backup scheme in place for the data that really counts, but it seems fairly likely. Best place to get an answer for that question, as regards a given company, would be their support department. –  Aaron Miller May 1 '13 at 14:06
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