first of all, if you are new to linux, you should already keep in mind to invest lots of time, to find out solutions for you questions, other may have answers or not.
Which distribution is up to you. For server use I would prefer CentOS or Debian (or Debian-"likes", e.g. Ubuntu for Server).
Especially for the tasks you described, you might think of projects like fli4l, etc. that use linux + config only for such purpose.
You also may find howto for each purpose you described here at howtoforge.