I made the leap and have a server.. the host suggested by AMinecraftMaster seems really solid with a great control panel interface. I setup a spigot server with a few plugins and all is well with a handful of interlinked worlds. Pretty neat.
the question is: this is a family server, so I only want 3 slots to show up. Changed the server.properties max-players setting to 3 but when I restart the server it reverts max-players to 25. Now, it is a whitelist server with only 2 names at the moment, so this is not a big deal.. but I'm just wondering why it would revert this setting. Nothing I've seen in any documentation so far mentions automatic changes to server.properties file.