Thank you for the explanation and links.
A dedicated server is NOT yours, it’s still the ‘hosting providers’ and even though it might be more secure than a VPS, is not more secure than our own hardware in our own colo cage with our own intrusion protection measures.
The rent to own → colo situation is one I was thinking about, I imagine at these prices (~$100/mo) the RTO is probably more like 3-5 years? Would be a better way to ease into it than paying for it all upfront but at what premium? Do you get hands on after its paid off?
There are a ton of colos here in Hillsboro, OR next to my hometown. I (and maybe other selected members) would be hands. Are these options you mentioned really less expensive than just getting a couple servers and managing them ourselves in the long run?