What is FFmpeg?
FFmpeg is a software containing libraries and programs used to handle video and audio files, a tool that decodes and then encodes these data. The most conventional use of FFmpeg is to stream and convert video or audio files from a larger format to a format that is lightly deliverable. It also means that the video format switches to another, depending on the device used to view the video file (for instance, 3gp or mp4 for mobile while flv or mkv for desktop).
FFmpeg also generates video preview screens. If you would like to start a video hosting website like Youtube, you will need FFmpeg.
Most probably, if you are only on a shared host, then you will not make a site that will compete with Youtube. So why need to install FFmpeg? Also, Youtube can be a good host for your videos.
But if you would like to have direct safe keeping of your videos or if majority of your websites readers come from China (where Youtube is blocked), then you may need to host your own videos and install FFmpeg.
Unfortunately not all hosting providers allow FFmpeg installation to their shared hosting plans.
Hostgator does not allow FFmpeg installation to your shared hosting plan. The bandwidth may be unlimited but the CPU can not cope-up once your videos are getting too much traffic. This may risk other websites hosted on the same server. You can only install the software if you’ll buy their VPS and Dedicated hosting.
Due to the resources FFmpeg uses, GoDaddy does not allow FFmpeg installation to its shared hosting accounts but you can install it with their VPS and Dedicated servers.
According to Bluehost, FFmpeg module is processor-intensive for a shared hosting environment that is why, they do not support it.
If your hosting provider is DreamHost and you badly need FFmpeg module, then you are lucky. Dreamhost has an FFmpeg installed on their shared hosting servers already. The absolute path is /usr/local/dh/bin/ffmpeg. You can also manually install your own but take note that any break is not covered by Dreamhost support.
I have no idea why Dreamhost allows FFmpeg module while others can’t.
Other shared hosting companies out there most likely do not allow FFmpeg installation. It is your choice to move to Dreamhost or upgrade to a VPS or dedicated hosting.