If you're going to be learning it, may as well learn it the correct way. CentOS (short for Community ENTerprise OS) is great for servers, and LAMP on red-hat based systems takes about two minutes to install and configure. Any Linux distro will be hard to learn at first, and CentOS isn't any harder than the other big names. Keep this in mind as you struggle through learning the command prompt. If you end up liking CentOS, you could try Fedora for a workstation to really lock down the Linux essentials. If you end up hating CentOS, you could try Ubuntu.
Which brings me to the "avoids CLI" comment. While GUIs are nice and all, honestly, the CLI is much simpler. Even if you don't know what you're doing yet, you can copy-paste commands from guides and get things setup rather quickly. I'm not sure I've ever setup much of anything in Linux without use of the CLI. To give you an example of CentOS installing a LAMP server using YUM (package manager), you would type this at the command line:
yum install httpd mysql mysql-server php php-mysql
Now you have Apache, MySQL, and PHP all installed. If you want phpmyadmin, just throw "phpmyadmin" to the end of that line. If you really want to avoid the CLI, you can install "webmin" as well. It's worth looking into, at least: http://www.webmin.com/demo.html
And then to start the services:
service httpd start
service mysqld start
If you want these services to run every time at boot:
chkconfig httpd on
chkconfig mysqld on
Everything will be running, and will startup with reboots. Your website will be located at
/var/www/html and directory read/write permissions should be set to the new user, "Apache". See how short and simple that was from the CLI? It was five commands! Anyway, I digress...
Some people have suggested Ubuntu, but Ubuntu isn't a server distro. It will work, but if you want to run a stable server from a Debian standpoint, you would probably use the original: Debian. I don't recommend this, however, because Debian can be a PITA, if memory serves correctly. A lot of people out there will try to tell you that Ubuntu can be, and is, used for servers. Well, it's true. Anything can be used for a server, and there are quite a few Ubuntu servers out there, but that doesn't mean it's right. I mean, deep-fried Twinkies are still food, but that doesn't make them
If all this distro talk is going a little over your head, I wrote an article a while back as part of a series I never finished, introducing people to Linux. It's short, but you may find this section useful: http://drprofessor.info/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=151:a-brief-history-of-linux-and-distros&catid=50:linux
and this one, too, if you want to know more about the directory structure differences between Linux and Windows: