I can talk about 2 of those things.
I've rented from a few server owners, for different prices. One thing I noticed moving from one to another, was there is always some kind of problem. I got every answer from " you must be doing something wrong " to " it must be the scripts you are using ", "it's your AO".
One owner even shut down the sim instead of just restarting it. He just shut it down. I always paid a few months in advance and it was frustrating. I had this feeling of deja vu in SL ... ewww
With one server owner, it was the sim kept crashing. Another was I kept having double almost everything on the sim every time there was a restart. Another was the scripts would just not work. I can keep going but ...
Gawd it was so much fun waiting for the owners to get online. At times I was offline for 48 hours.
I was ready to give it all up. But I had never tried a standalone, so I figured I would try that and see?
WOW, that decision opened up a whole new world for me.
Then, after a month, with the help of some terrific people here, I dared connecting to the OS grid.
Having my own sims, connected to OS grid is the best thing that ever happened in my Virtual Life.
To all those owners that I've rented from, I can say this ...
I'm still using the same scripts (taken here at this forum) for all my scripting needs.
I'm still building the way I used to.
Still samo samo AO from Casper.
I am not doing anything different.
But I am updating as soon as there is an update from Nebadon. I follow this forum and get a lot of tips from some awesome people.
My main sim is Selea's Elf Art Gallery. It has scripts all over. Of course some of them I tweaked for the need of some prims. I have terraformed that sim inside out a few times. I was born with the right to change things as I want and gawd I do just that ... lol
All this to say ... I now have sims running from my own PC. I never have problems. Scripts work just great. No lag.
Updates are nice and easy because Nebadon makes it that way. You keep a few files, then just update right out of the box.
All these problems I had before are just not there anymore.
I can't say why I had all these troubles before. But since I do not have any problems now, at times I think these owners are just not doing a proper update or something, and newbies like me are getting blamed.
I'm grateful I did not give up. I'm grateful to so many here in this forum for their help and guidance.
I wish others would try to connect instead of renting. Because of all this, I am a better builder and have a better understanding of how to properly run a sim. You can save your whole inventory, your whole sim, anytime you want. You don't have to ask and pay for that service. The benefits are just huge when you connect yourself.
Believe me, if someone like me can connect from my own PC, me that barely knows how to start my PC ... anyone can ... LOL
Well that was my 2pennies ... lol