I've got a question regarding which language and/or framework to choose.

I'm in a situation where I'm about to start a web application development project. I'm not working as a programmer, but I went two years to university, two classes included Java and VB. For my main project i used PHP. I did this due to my interest in computers, and it's not related to my current job at all.

I've been allowed to start a project developing something similar to an information portal. This is sort of a "hobby" project and is to cost nothing. It will start small and will be expanded if successful. (and then I would get paid to do it..)

I'm starting from "scratch" and one personal goal is to learn a language and framework well.

I've been looking at PHP and Ruby (because of rails). Since I'm starting from the bottom I don't have any preference one way or the other. It seems to me that Ruby is a better choice long term, but is currently suffering from performance issues and a more complicated deployment process. My impression is also that the web server setup is more complicated.

Some has aslo complained about Rails as a bloated choice for a small/medium web project.

My heart tells me to go with Ruby and Rails, but I'm also leaning towards PHP as a fast, easy to setup choice with lots of frameworks and scripts to choose from.

Any thoughts on this?