Do you need a virtual or dedicated Server when simply coding? Would you be able to build a website from scratch from your on PC and take a Server only one day befor going live in Beta?
Technically if you're very good you wouldn't need a development server — or any other remote environment. All your code would be perfectly platform independent.
Depending on your target audience and a whole raft of other things have you considered cloud hosting? There are plenty out there that allow you to push from git and be live in less than a minute.
That said would I ever do this the day before going to beta? Hell No
Always be prepared and know your platform, but does that also mean you need to pay $100 a month for a server from day one? Of course not as well.
You definitely want to take a server more than a day before going live - last minute problems are not fun. However your use of a day as an example is unfortunate as now no-one is answering the other part of the question.
Do you need a server from day 1 of your project? Depends. You want to be developing on an environment as close to your server as possible, to ensure that all bugs/problem are ironed out.
Trivial example; on Linux filenames are case sensitive, on windows they are not. This also shows up in MySQL Tables. So on windows, both
require "Cats.class.php" require "cats.class.php"
Will work. On Linux, that will error.
So, the question is, can you make your development environment as much like your live environment as possible? If yes, then you don't need a server from day 1. If there are major differences, a server may be wise.
But as another poster says, look at cheap VPS's - 100/month while developing may be overkill.
Another option, besides getting a VPS, particularly if you are going to run your web site on a *nix platform, is to simply create a virtual machine and make a mundane "server" installation of your target platform, then deploy to it as if it was a remote server. It's not going to be perfect, and it will take a little more time setting up, but on the other hand the cost will be negligable, and you will get a very good feel for what is actually required on the server and how to set it up before going beta.
This isn't quite as much of an option if you are targetting Windows, because of the license cost, but even then it may be an option.
Yes, you could, but I wouldn't do it. There are too many things that can go wrong on a website (particularly one that is hosted by a third party) that leaving server configuration until 1 day before launch is fairly careless. The third party could be unreliable, could have trouble configuring the site properly, you could have account/login trouble in addition to difficulty reaching customer support. Tons of things can go wrong at the last minute that giving yourself a paid month of unused support/service is a worthy investment just for the peace of mind of knowing that when you want to launch you can launch.
If missing the launch date by a day or 2 due to these problems doesn't mean anything to you, meaning you can recover and it's no big loss, then save yourself the money and deal with the problems as they come. Almost all of the problems you'll encounter will be fairly quick fix problems, and any respectable third party hosting provider will be fairly reliable in supporting you rapidly if necessary. Worst case scenario would be a miss of about 3 days (if everything went wrong). If you can handle that kind of gap and $100 is a big deal, then save the money.