For years I ran a bog standard setup. I changed hosting companies a couple of times but it was all pretty much the same. Shared hosting that provided PHP and MySQL running Wordpress sites for the most part. I dabbled with Drupal and maybe some other CMS packages but that was about it. Some time, I don’t know how long ago, I decided I wanted more flexibility. I wanted access to the OS and the ability to try out things outside whatever box the shared hosting put me in.
For a long time I’ve done things the old way. I know how to work with a server, move files, set up Apache, etc. I’ve not been too current for sure. I did move off shared hosting a while back to a VPS but then I’ve just basically treated it like the old shared hosting account, just without cpanel. I ssh in, set up my stuff, run my updates, etc. It’s Fedora, same as my desktop so pretty nice.