Linux Consultancy & System Administration

Welcome to - homepage of Peter Smith, a UK-based Linux consultant, programmer, system admin, web developer and author

For the past 17 years I have been working on a freelance basis for clients in both the UK and abroad, dividing my time between web development (PHP/MySQL) and Linux system administration. Along the way I've even written a couple of books on the subject.

I'm always interested in taking on new clients, whether it be for a one-off project or regular work. If you have a project which you feel I may be interested in, feel free to contact me.

One thing I love about my work is the variety; nevertheless there are a few areas which I tend to focus on ...

Linux Server Management and Maintenance

Many of my clients have some degree of Linux knowledge, but find it useful to have me on hand for day-to-day problems such as services crashing, hack attempts, advice on upgrading, PHP extensions which need installing etc. Plesk is a common source of problems, and one that I deal with almost daily. Read more »

Aside from these, I have extensive experience in the following area:

Linux Server Security, including PCI DSS

Linux security was one of my first interests, and was the subject of my first book back in 2005. Since then, I've found myself regularly being asked to clean up hacked servers and discover the source of the intrusion.

The majority of attacks tend to be through Web exploits, and having cleaned up dozens of machines over the years I know most of the tricks used by hackers. I can perform a thorough security audit of the server, clean up the attack and advise on ways to stop it happening again.

The other area of server security which I regularly work in is PCI DSS compliance - the bane of many e-Commerce site owners. As well as remedying any problems found in a scan, I can also advise when a scan is producing false positives and fight your corner if the scanning company are being difficult (which tends to happen quite often). Read more »

Website and Server Performance Tuning

My main interest at the moment is Linux server performance, particularly for web platforms, and this was the subject of my most recent book, published in 2013. The effects of speed on the whole user experience (and in particular on sales) has been well documented, and with Google now factoring speed into search result rankings, the need for a zippy site has never been greater.

As well as front-end optimization strategies such as minification, minimising DOM overhead, CSS performance, and caching, I specialise in back-end performance: things like Apache/Nginx load balancing, database scaling (including NoSQL solutions to compliment MySQL) and PHP. Over the years I've helped many large and medium sized companies to solve their scalability issues, allowing them to grow beyond a single server setup and provider killer performance coupled with reliability and failover redundancy. Read more »

MySQL Support and Consultancy

The other key area that I work in is MySQL, with an emphasis on performance and scalability. So often MySQL is the bottleneck in web applications, partly because it is usually trickier to scale than other parts, and I specialise in optimizing both SQL queries (including how to properly utilize MySQL's built in query cache) and MySQL's configuration. Where appropriate I can also offer advice on ways to shift the load away from MySQL through aggressive caching and NoSQL alternatives.

I also have many years of experience with the various techniques for scaling MySQL: from the myriad of possible replication topologies through to sharding, partitioning and functionality separation. I can advise on and build multi-server setups specific to your needs, capable of handling high levels of traffic and with high levels of redundancy. Read more »

Consultancy is offered at a flat rate of 40 GBP per hour. Please contact me for further details.
You may also like to read more about my background, and the areas that I work in.

Linux Services




Fun Stuff


Pete's Shed

linux support email
(+44) 07890 592198