I'm looking for a way for my clients to see maps online. These will be project specific maps and will need some password protection for access. I've played with Manifold IMS witih Windows running IIS but it's not the ideal solution as I don't have a computer that is on all the time. My clients don't have budget for hosted map service subscriptions either. I do have a Synology Network attached Server which will run certain programs including Geoserver and the NAS is on all the time. qGIS offers a mapserver but I think I run into the same limitation of needing a PC running all the time. The advantage is the qGIS mapserver uses the same map file as the desktop qGIS which is simple and elegant.
So I have been looking at Geoserver but from what I understand it serves up map layers to use in other mapping programs for instance serving up WMS layers for someone to use in a qGIS map on their PC. Am I correct that a user can't connect to Geoserver using a web browser and see a map in their browser then click to turn on and off layers, pan around, zoom in and out, and print or otherwise keep a copy of the map they've assembled from the layers I've offered up? Essentially my own version of Google Maps.
I haven't found the precise terminology yet. "Map server" seems to cover both online maps (e.g., Google maps) and online serving up of map layers (e.g., WMS server) to be used elsewhere. Any help with the terminology would be appreciated.
What I do now is either fabricate the map myself and send them a PDF or send them .KLM files they can open in Google Earth as layers and they can turn layers on/off as they wish and zoom around. With a map server my goal is to keep adding to the maps so when they log in the next time, some new aspect of a project will be available as well as layers they've seen before.