Since 1999 I have been developing my websites on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack, and it has served me well. It was very easy to learn and get up to speed with PHP (a bit too easy maybe), while setting up Apache/MySQL for development work is trivial. The best part was, and still is, the plethora of straightforward and affordable LAMP hosting solutions, which have played a key role in the widespread adoption of PHP and its accompanying technologies.
As I like to keep myself up-to-date with new technologies and design/development paradigms, every time I want to learn a new technology I just create a new project (works better that a ‘hello world’ tutorial). When I was learning PHP/MySQL, I developed two gaming community websites: Noobwars and The-Core (the former has changed hands since then and the latter is no longer active), both full-blown news/community/CMS applications handwritten end-to-end. Then, as I was delving deeper into Flash & ActionScript, I redesigned my portfolio website in full-Flash (I know … I have seen the light since then!). When I wanted to get a better understanding of jQuery/CSS3/HTML5, I developed Penguspy.