Roger, no you don't NEED either IMAP or cPanel but if your going to spend alot of time on servers, they're nice to have.
Tacit I have my share of server space and i wouldn't steer you wrong. Any host with cPanel and access to Web Host Manager will pay for the site and save you a lot of time. I'm not promoting a host per say, just the tools that making hosting easy. An IMAP account on your own domain is a gold standard. You can have your own certificate and security as I'm sure you already know.