New Server for Small business

I am looking at buying a server to run SQL server on. I have built a file server years ago but man things have changed. I am so confused about the software that I need. This server will just run on my local network. I have 4 people that would have applications that would access the data. So I am thinking I would buy and install Windows Server then buy and install SQL server. This is for commercial use so I want to make sure everything is legal. I am looking at getting a small server with one 4 core processor, 16GB RAM, 2ea 1 TB hard drives configured in Raid 1. If I remember correctly I need an OS (Windows Server) then Sql Server software to install on it. Is that correct? Is this an extremely complex situation or is it a simple one that I am overthinking? Does it sound like I am on the right track or should I just hire someone to configure and install the server? Any suggestions for this situation is very much appreciated.

Does it need to be MS SQL Server and not MySQL, Maria, or PostgreSQL?

Installing an OS and database need not be complex. Admining and optimizing the DB and middleware accessing it can be very complex and a full-time job.

I’d suggest NVMe rather than HDD. You can mirror them if you’re worried about downtime, but obviously also have regular 3-2-1 backups.

Are you sure it will not be easier to go for a vps with a good technical support?
I understand that compared to the cost of a small home server vps hosting will be more expensive in a long run, but less hassle…

I am a total newbie and I have kind of a similar problem/question. I want to set up a home server to share it with my friends and family for hosting, but I don’t know much about server administration. I was told that I need to install a hosting control panel on top of Linux and it would make things much easier. And you can create and set up SQL database with it. I also want everything to be legal, so I’m looking at free panels such as, or But I’m still not sure if it worths it in terms of time and money compared to a managed VPS.
Any opinions are really appreciated.

Hosting at home is typically more expense up front, cheaper in the long run. It depends on the requirements, however; the chief advantage of a VPS or cloud VM is transit, plus less hassle when the hardware fails.

Regardless of where the server is hosted, opening any service up to the public Internet should be done only after careful consideration of the security issues – either you learn, or you hire someone to do it for you. Panels are nice, and many hosting providers include DA or cPanel in the price of the service, but neither a VPS with panel nor shared hosting are a substitute for real managed hosting. Managed hosting is in a much higher price bracket.