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This is not an easy question. There are so many different possibilities for services, server software, etc that it's not easy to give an answer without more info.
Maybe you can help narrow the question and thus the answer... What are you going to do with this server? Email? SQL? Webserver? Etc... Are you looking to deploy a microsoft server OS? Which one? Will it allow FTP or dialup access? What about Unix?
If you can narrow the question a little, I'm sure you will get a more pointed answer.
If it's just a webserver, pay a webhoster, it's much easier, more secure, and just all around better that way.
I know how to set up servers sort of and I'd never set one up that had actual connection to the web. Unless, of course, I wanted to create a new zombie pc for the world's spammers.
1. 24-hour professional backup/support for when you screw up
2. diesel powered generators for power outages
3. locked down facility with 24-hour security guards, surveillance cameras, etc..
4. dedicated server racks in climate controlled center.
5. 24-hour sys admin support in event of server failure
I get 1-5 with my relatively cheapo host and much more (they'll install all kinds of things on their time, no charge to me, no hassle to me) from my host and I certainly would not be able to provide that on my own.