I agree that a scripting language is a good place to start, they're generally very forgiving and handle all of your memory for you. Server side languages are a nice idea, and I'd recommend PHP
tends to be a bit more complicated - mostly because you'd be dealing with DOM more than likely, and some people find it hard to grasp Object Oriented principles early on. Other scripting languages include Python
, Python would be my recommendation overall though - it promotes excellent learning of programming fundamentals without daunting (however preferable as I see it) syntax.
Compiled languages have a lot more to them, and to be a decent C/C++
programmer it is best to have an in-depth technical understanding of how the language itself is compiled into machine code. You can't really skip the theory, otherwise your programs will end up bloated, stringy and segfaulting all over the place. Once you understand the fundamentals of procedural and Object Oriented Programming (OOP) through learning scripting languages, I'd recommend a start in C++. It's fast, lets you work on a low level and easily portable (perhaps not as easy as Java many would argue - but that depends how good you are and besides it's much faster
You should also check out this thread in the programming forum, it's has some more information.