Web pages used to be simple affairs, where everything you needed to do could be done in HTML, there was really one set of rules and one set of expectations. Today's world is far more complex.
Web pages can be more complex and customers expect more from web pages. Terms like PHP and ASP now compete with HTML when starting a web page and it can be hard to figure out what option best suits your needs.
If you've ever driven an import car, you can appreciate the importance of being able to find support that meet your needs, if you're going to kick the tires with your website and turn it into something exception, having a large community that can support you is critical.
PHP, Personal Home Pages has more support on the internet than ASP - Active Server Pages. The larger user base gives you more allies; more people who can help you develop your own talents and your website.
Another advantage of PHP is that it's based on unix, giving it more cross platform capability than ASP as increasing demands of Microsoft's operating systems level the cost playing field between Microsoft products and Apple, this is ever more important.
And did we mention that in the grand tradition of unix, PHP is free, while ASP needs support software that isn't? For add-ons and additional tools, PHP's open source has a strong base of free tools, whereas ASP demands that you purchase these tools.
You can find help for your PHP programming from free to paid. Most professional ASP support is very expensive by comparison.
Also, you have to consider the costs associated with a web hosting on Windows Server compared to Linux Servers. For most cases, you will notice a substantial difference in prices.
Not only that, but Windows severs do tend to be unstable and prone to failures, are more likely to be attacked by viruses, Trojans and exploits. Linux servers on the other hand are much more stable and the attacks windows servers suffer in a daily basis are non-existent in Linux.
If you are considering either a dedicated server or a shared hosting, your fist choice should be Linux. I've yet to find a problem that can't be solved using PHP and Linux.
With all this, you might wonder why ASP still is out there at all. Part of it stems from ASP being based on the same methodology that's used to make macros in other Microsoft products.
People that have invested the time learning how to use macros in Word or Excel will be more comfortable using ASP. PHP is based on C++, a robust computer programming language.
Before this intimidates you, the free tools that exist out there allow for a lot of this to be hidden, until you're ready to take advantage of the power behind PHP.
Putting it all together, the power, the cost, flexibility, stability and support of PHP is far superior to that of ASP. If you're going to commit to building the best web page you can, commit to using the best tools you can.
Investing in learning PHP will pay off when you're able to pop the hood, invite your friends over and transform your web page from a normal, average, page to a sophisticated and highly toned performance page.