ROOT access is necessarily if you want to tweak out a server and lock it down tighter than a web hosting company normally would (which often times is not even hardened), however as mentioned, the moment you get root access, all the power is in your hands and a simple "rm -rf /" rather than "rm -rf ./" mistake deletes everything on the machine.
I'm all for diving in and trying to figure things out (it's partially where Hands-on got it's name) however if you don't know if you need it, you probably don't.
Its not all a loss rocketgirl, should you get the test server as I suggested, so you mess it up really bad! So what! Its a learning tool, so re-install the system and move forward. Besides, did you know how to use your current computer and App's right from the start,,,, hum, I think not! Over 35 years of IT work and I still learn new skills every day! Thank goodness I remember my more serious mistakes and don't repeat them anymore. (LOL)
So take a leap, its the only way you will know if your cut out to manage your own destiny. In my 1st semester of college I took pascal,,, WOW!! even though I'm some what of a geek, I learned real fast I was not that kind of geek. So I went to work for Apple then Microsoft for 12 years.
Root access has its advantages to have it , when you have a server it is mandatory to grant the right to use it only to someone you really know cause once someone access the server they can do pretty much anything they want on it. If there is not enough knowledge of its functioning then perhaps a good start is a VPSwhich provides root access for it then you learn a lot from it and get more familiarized.
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There are people who use VPS or Dedicated server and they don't have enough technical knowledge which finally results in their business loss. Better to hire a professional System Admin to gain a huge profit with the server