Drew Webber (mcdruid) is a UK Drupal developer, PHP programmer and linux sysadmin. This is his website.
I like to have automated daily database backups set up on my servers - for those hosting relatively small sites, the database dumps can usually be compressed down small enough to be sent as an e-mail attachment by the cron script which does the database dump. This is a really simple and cost-effective way of having offsite backups which provide daily snapshots of sites which are easy to access if anything goes wrong.
I haven't used shared hosting for quite a while, but for a few sites I've worked on recently an account on a shared host seemed the best choice in terms of how much disk space and bandwidth they'd get for a very small cost.
One obvious problem with shared hosting though is the lack of control; I was careful to choose a package which provided up-to-date versions of apache, php and mysql but subversion was not installed, and the version of vim on the server didn't have support for some basic things like syntax highlighting.
Some of Drupal's CCK modules such as filefield and imagefield have support for a neat Upload Progress meter.
You may have seen a message in the status report of your Drupal site saying something like... "Upload progress not enabled - Your server is capable of displaying file upload progress, but does not have the required libraries. It is recommended to install the PECL uploadprogress library (prefered) or to install APC."