Debian is a great choice for setting up linux webservers. According to current stats it is the most popular server OS followed closely by centos. I am a great fan of the apt/dpkg/gdebi commands, which make it so easy to install and update packages on the system.
To setup a complete functional php webserver, you need to install a couple of extra things which include a webserver and a database. In this post we shall be setting up nginx, php, php-fpm, apc and maridb.