I've been doing back-side coding for the last 2-3 years. Mostly, I've built small to medium sized websites on shared hosting packages. As such, I have rarely had shell access or the need or ability to manipulate the server. Setting up the mod-rewrites, 404 redirects, etc.. in the htacces files is as far as I go.
This is fine until I run into the Do-It-Yourself hosters. Companies that have IT departments or clients that are engineers and figure they can set up the hosting themselves. Invariably, problems pop up that can be extremely time-consuming to fix. They often turn to me for advise I don't have.
For example, on one recent host I worked with, the mysql server rejected the comment syntax in the base sql I load in and it did not support using the current time as the default on a timestamp field. Numerous other problems popped up along the way.
Any suggestions on how to deal with these types of situations? Maybe I should find a hosting partner to work with. Establish hosting criteria for which versions and modules need to be installed.