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Seeking advice: temporary DIY Web server from a Windows terminal

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In 2014, we’re going to move from our static site to a CMS. Later this year, we’ll choose a host based on the CMS we’ve picked and its requirements.

Because our business model depends on offering reliable Wi-Fi (we’re a public library), we have a very robust Internet connection. When you order that level of service from our regional provider (Cablevision), the package comes with 5 dedicated IP addresses. So I own five IP addresses that are not currently in use.

While I’m developing (i.e. messing around with) different CMS installs, I don’t have any need to pay a host if I don’t have to. I’d just as soon attach a Windows terminal with 500 GB internal to my router, partition it into a few chunks, register a few domain names, and have several sites I can play around with – including installing different options, soliciting input from the staff members who’ll eventually be putting in data, and learning how it interacts via ODBC with our in-house database (FileMaker Server). I don’t know how difficult it would be to install stuff like MySQL and PHP on my homebrewed Web server.

Also, I don’t plan to eventually become my own Web host. We have a budget for a host, and I don’t want to start doing back end maintenance on email, virus protection, et c. If this is easy, I might eventually keep the terminal as some kind of support server (such as image storage, or secure storage of documents scanned by our patrons, whatnot).

SO MY QUESTION IS: please offer any insight about how easy/difficult it will be for me to attach a Windows desktop to my modem. (I don’t want to learn Unix/Linux for this task – the goal here is to save resources and work around my limitations.)

I;m posting this on a few different web hosting message boards.

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