What I'm hoping to do is set up some articles, links, and a forum, presented in a reasonably professional format. I could use basic HTML, which I know how to use, but wouldn't know how to set up a forum. On the much more complicated end, I tried out a set of freeware for running a server -- XAMPP plus Joomla -- and was able to work through a tutorial to get a complex site running offline on my own machine.
Currently I have an account on Xepher.net (thanks again!) that I'm not using for much; I should probably not host the planned new site on this server though, for fear of being too controversial and hence being a bad guest. Assuming that I find a server, how would I go about actually establishing a site online? Specifically I'm wondering (1) how I figure out whether to use a Content Management System vs. HTML and some forum service, and (2) how I go from writing the content to getting it on someone's server.