Microsoft makes available free cut down versions of Visual Studio (Visual Web developer) and SQL Server (SQL Server Express). Both downloads are good for beginners, but are no substitute for the professional versions. I learned about WebMatrix being a free download and was skeptical. I am accustomed to doing my web development with Internet Information Services on XP Pro at home and at work, and thought this was a cheap program analgous to the above examples.
Some use and practice with it has revealed many pleasant surprises. There is a Search Optimisation workspace with reports showing SEO related issues. I have done development with Umbraco and Orchard with IIS Pro, and had many crashes and failed installations. Using these CMS Systems with WebMatrix has been problem free and smooth.
It’s a free download, I recommend giving it a shot. How to download WebMatrix goes without saying, but there’s a gem guide on how to use it produced by DZone Refcardz at DZonoe Refcardz WebMatrix.