BTW I was digging around Hostgator support and found this link: http://support.hostgator.com/articles/hosting-guide/lets-get-started/how-do-i-get-and-use-ssh-access
You can enable shell access on your own through your online account. I'm going to try that first so if it works I can provide an addendum for your guide to help people with this shared hosting solution. If it doesn't work, I'm going to Digital Ocean.
Just finished going through the guide front to back and feel completely comfortable with it all.. Really just a lack of 'being in the game' on my part more than anything and not knowing the new commands but the principals are all the same really. Get services up and running, access them, then once running admin via web, etc..
I'd like to see people at my level or below able to utilize this forum so I'm all-in for helping the cause from the end-user perspective.