UK based PHP Software Engineer
Richard Bairwell
PHP Development Services for fast, responsive, API driven sites

Skill set

If you are looking for a PHP developer, software engineer or system architect with more than 20 years of commercial development experience - then I should be able to help!

Software Development

Working mainly with PHP3 to the latest version of PHP (7.4 at time of writing), I have built sites and services handling millions of views per week - from basic WordPress driven websites/plugins, multi-lingual sites, cinema booking systems, integration with COBOL/ Perl/ MS SQL/ SOAP/ REST systems, video playback, facial capture, confidential data storage solutions and much more besides!

Along with PHP, I know my way around Javascript/NodeJS, AWS MySQL/ MariaDB/ PerconaDB, Docker, Memcache, Redis, PostgreSQL, jQuery, HTML, CSS, Linux, Apache, Nginx, Perl, Python, C++, C#.Net - all to varying degrees.

My preferred PHP framework is Slim (as it's quick, small and suitable for APIs and microservices which I specialise in), but I've also worked with Symfony, Silex, Laminas/Zend Framework and some Laravel.

My preferred Javascript framework is jQuery, but I've worked with React and Angular2 as well - and some lesser known frameworks.

E-Commerce / Security

I have experience of building and integration with quite a lot of e-commerce solutions such as Magento, WooCommerce, custom WordPress e-commerce sites, ClickCartPro/EuropaCart, Interchange, osCommerce and other custom e-commerce platforms.

I've also built integrations to Paypal, Stripe, SagePay/Protx, GoCardless, WorldPay, "the world's first pay by SMS web hosting service" and many other payment gateways - along with building a custom fraud detection service.

As a member of the OWASP, BCS, ODI and ACM: along with being registered as a data controller at the ICO, I understand the need for security, common security failings and legal obligations under the DPA, GDPR, have helped companies achieve PCI certification and other factors.

I've worked in the educational, web hosting, B2B and B2C e-commerce and insurance markets and so have a good understanding for various regulations and requirements needed.

System Design / Team Lead

With over 20 years of not just programming, but also server/system administration (specialising in the open source increasingly mis-abbreviated "LAMP" stack: but also with MacOS desktop and Microsoft Windows Desktop and Server experience), I have a solid understanding and experience of performance impacts, technologies which can help reduce costs and increase speed (such as Redis, Memcache, Varnish cache), database structure design, message queues, CDNs and much more

Working with stake holders, I have designed entire systems from the ground up and also worked from existing design requirements/request plans in both "waterfall" and "Agile" driven workflows.

Whilst working as predominately a self-starting remote contractor for the last 15 years - mainly communicating by email, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Trello, Jira or other online technologies - I do work well in teams and have lead teams of developers of up to 7 people before - and I can communicate both in "technical terms" to fellow developers and designers, along with "plain English" to clients/customers alike.


Whilst I specialise in "back end coding" and have worked under various NDAs, it can be tricky to show my previous work. But I hope this selected portfolio will give you an idea of what I can offer you.

  • Q3 2019-Q1 2020

    System Architect/Developer: Confidential Medical Records System

    For a market leading UK insurance company, I developed a system using PHP 7.4, Slim Framework, Bootstrap Templates, jQuery, Datatables, JSON:API, MariaDb, Docker, Twig, Swiftmailer, PHPUnit, PHP-DI, ElasticSearch and AWS to offer a high availability, secure medical records system. Allowing login either via Microsoft Azure, Email/password, smart-card or "Web Authentication" (all with optional two-factor checks either via TOTP, SMS, email or telephone), this system was capable of handling over 30 million customers (with over 300 million records tested) with confidential information such as personal names, addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers and medical records (all of which was encrypted) whilst still allowing easy billing, quick and simple data entry, fast searching (even on encrypted data), import of data from an external database, export of "usage" to Excel, CSV and HTML outputs - all whilst on a "Small" Amazon instance with less than 1Gb memory!

  • Q1 2017-Q1 2019

    Developer: Web Quality Assurance Toolkit

    Silktide Ltd

    Using a combination of NodeJS, PHP 7, Silex Framework and Chromium, I developed a tool to capture screenshots of web pages, emulate user interactions (such as scrolling, key presses and mouse interactions), capture all assets transferred, check image compression sizes, check accessibility and have all the data returned to a PHP backend. I also created a web page to PDF conversion API to host on AWS, improved the speed of their spell checking system from around 30s per web page to less than 0.3seconds - along with more than doubling the size of their dictionaries, and also a JSON driven 2D graphics manipulation toolkit in PHP7 using Slim and Imagick and a domain name valuation tool tracking 219 million domain names.

  • Q2 2014-Q3 2015

    System Architect/Lead Developer/Interim CTO: Online user verification video service

    Comprobo Ltd

    Using PHP 7, C++, ffmpeg, dlib (Machine Learning library), oAuth, jQuery, REST APIs, and JWT orientated microservices, I built a system to take biometric pictures of users (and compare those to that on record automatically for identify verification), playback videos (whilst recording user interactions), prompt for questions before, after and during video playback, creation of audit trails, log emails sent by the system (including timestamps from mail hand overs/bouncebacks) and integration with the TAO Testing platform.

  • Q4 2013-Q2 2014

    WordPress Developer and Server Administrator

    Marshall Design Consultants Ltd t/a Un.titled

    Working for this Leicester based design agency, I built a tool to enable mass importation of products from multiple Excel spreadsheets into multiple WordPress websites (based on specific criteria, language settings and also product image availability). I also developed a Magento count down sales timer, a fully redundant Varnish-cached backed AWS powered Magento architecture, and a custom mailing list capturing software suite.

  • Q3 2008-Q4 2011

    Lead Developer/System Architect: Online educational maths games

    Blue Duck Education Ltd t/a

    Working with Zend Framework 1, PHP5, jQuery, MySQL, CSS, HTML, AMF, Memcache and Varnish reverse proxy (and Linux), I created the bulk of the backend code for this new e-learning games orientated website - which encompassed integration with Paypal, Payvision, Bibit, XML and AMF integration - along with server admnistration/setup/monitoring work.

  • 20 years +

    My further work history includes Senior Web Developer/Team Leader roles at a major international retailer, developer for an online document management system, CTO at a medium sized web hosting company and even a website reviewer (going back to 2000!)

Contact Me

Interested in hearing more about how I can help you and your organisation?

My rates are typically around £350+VAT per day for remote work (billed by VAT registered "Bairwell Ltd"), but this can vary depending on the contract length, work required etc.
Please use the Contact Form on if you wish to reach me.