I decided to dive into world of MMO games and for start just for the fun of learning and doing it to create an simple example game.

However, i am having doubts on which server side technology to use as a backend, PHP or Java so i am looking for advice from experienced guys around. I don't wan't to use any of the already existing server side products like SmartFox etc. I want to build a simpler one from scratch for the sake of learning.

I believe PHP is easier to learn and i already have some experience with it and it's easier to set up i guess since most of hosting company nowadays support it, but in longterm speaking which one Java or PHP is technology wise better for this task? Let's say it's going to be a simple lobby where any number of users could hang at the same time so any movements/actions should should be in real time.

Is PHP capable of doing this kind of thing?

Do both Java or PHP backend soultions should be based on Sockets or Java has other options?

What are your opinions guys on this? What are the pros and cons of going with either with PHP or Java?

Thanks in advance!