Hosting providers are companies that offer "Urbit as a Service". They do the work of setting up your urbit in the cloud and making sure it's up to date and you don't have perform any technical steps or maintenance.
Generally, you'll get an Urbit ID by signing up with a hosting provider, but some allow you to bring your own Urbit ID, or even your pier (all your urbit data.)
While hosting providers offer convenience and customer support, hosting does mean trusting your provider with your data, just as you would any internet service company. Unlike typical internet services however, Urbit makes it possible to leave a hosting provider with your Urbit ID, which you can then use to switch hosting provider or self-host.
The two important points one should remember about hosting providers:
- Because the provider has access to the resources that run your Urbit experience, you must trust them with your data.
- Urbit is designed to be portable, so your hosting provider will allow you to export all your data and boot up elsewhere if you choose.