Much of the answer here depends on what you want to do with the server. If you don't care for access to the OS and using OS-level tools then you can go with FM Cloud or use one of the many existing hosting providers to just host a copy of your file.
If the OS and its tools is important to you then the big question is: Mac or Windows?
If you don't need the features of FM Server and can use the reduced feature set of FM Cloud, then setting up FM Cloud is very easy. Buy your license from FM or a reseller. Setup AWS account, go to the marketplace, find the FM Cloud template and launch it.
By default, it's accessible by the everyone on the internet 0.0.0.0, but it's simple enough to change that rule to be the few users you will have, or leave it wide open. It comes with a 90 day SSL Certificate, and after that, you would have to buy one. Before you go into production, I'd suggest you test some failure scenarios like the machine rebooting, restoring from a backup, copying a backup to another server, etc.
Alternatively, if you are looking for the full benefits of FM Server launch a Windows Server instance in either AWS or Azure or similar. Once it's running, install FM Server. Make sure the firewall is set to listen and accept connections for the ports FM Server needs.
The nice thing about "practicing" on Azure or AWS servers is that if you get in a bind, you can just delete it and start over. With Azure put everything into 1 resource group, if it goes really sideways, you can delete the entire resource group. I run test AWS Windows FM Servers on a t2 medium size. A lot of it though depends on how the FM file is built and structured.
From everything I’ve read and understood, FM Pro Server should be run on its own. That said, I don’t plan on using PHP or web tools. Users will connect via FM Pro, Go or possibly Web Direct. If it matters, I’d also like to connect to SQL tables on a separate server, but that will be via the FM App.
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AWS has a free tier. I ran my dev license on one of those for a while. It is technically under the recommended server specs, but it still seemed to run just fine for development.
AWS paid tiers are also good as you can stop the instance and thus stop charges for uptime and processing. Data storage is still charged. This is nice if you have definite off hours where no development or testing happens.
Then next option is any company that has Windows VPS with Windows Server 2012 or 2016 included. Prices vary. Virmach and GoDaddy are good. Virmach has better pricing. GoDaddy has better support if you ever need it.
These previous options would require getting someone to set it up for you.
Another option that can be totally hands off on server setup is going with any of the dedicated FileMaker hosting companies. PointInSpace and FMPhost are two companies.
Have a look at our hosting services at:
We have been providing professional FileMaker hosting for over 18 years. We offer both shared hosting accounts and *fully managed* virtual dedicated servers. The benefit of going with us is you get our expertise in setting up and managing your solution, something you won't get many other places.
Feel free to contact me either here or off-list at jmay(at)pointinspace.com if you have any questions.
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I wrote a blog post with a 10 step quick start guide to setting up FM Server on AWS.
You mention using your developer copy of FM Server, and this would be applicable here. As bigtom mentioned, you can run your virtual instance in the free tier to save on costs.
I will note that at the time of writing, the system requirements for FM Server were a little lower, so now you would want to choose at least a t2.large instance for a server that meets the current specs.
Hope this helps