The most popular hosting companies offer direct access to the hosting server via Secure Shell Access, or SSH. Access to a shell gives site-owners a greater control, and opens up more possibilities for adding features or testing site performance. However because the hosting is shared, you will have restricted access to package managers, the gnu c compiler, make etc. In other words, to install any non-standard programs, you will need permission from your hosting company and sometimes pay an extra fee. Does your web-project require using of certain tools like Java? Do you prefer to work with python 3.x instead of python 2.x. If so then most shared-hosting plans will not be adequate. Below are the results from my investigation of a few popular hosting companies for program availability in general. I also checked for access to gnu c compiler which would allow us to manually install most new programs over SSH. Bluehost is pretty restrictive and does not allow access to gcc. Also, java is not included at all. HostGator doesn’t include the gcc. Take a look at the HostGator software compaibility list for quick idea of what’s available. Godaddy‘s hosting gives full permissions to use gcc! You will have to be okay with be running on an almost 10 year old kernel version 2.6.x . Site Ground offers relatively more recent versions of software.However, Users are denied permission to use gcc and c make. Depending on how “custom” your setup needs to be, you may expect to pay for such service( $49 for a one time technical request on Siteground ). At that point it might be worth upgrading to a dedicated hosting plan instead.