After some further searching and help, looks like the dB server/Innodb engine should be set to use barracuda file system. large prefix, and default dynamic row format, but since I’m in a shared environment I cannot change those server-wide settings.
Looks like another option is to upgrade to MariaDB vers. 10.2 as apparently it increases the max. column width by default, but again I cannot do that since I’m in a shared hosting environment and my provider does not yet offer vers. 10.2.
I received one comment that perhaps I can modify the SQL file that scripts the dB to use ROW_FORMAT=DYNAMIC but not sure that will solve the issue w/o the server-wide settings above.
Perhaps my path of least resistance is to use another hosting provider that can support it, or fire-up a server that I control
Thanks for your help!