For the record, I am the novice site administrator.
I use SliceHost as my website provider. I really like their service, but one of the downsides is that they don't really provide any site administration tools. In other words, when you lease a slice from them they give you an operating system, and you have to install everything else on your own.
For a guy who had never done anything like that before, I think I did pretty well. Still, there are bumps in the road.