I’m going to assume he means hosting like any other set of files, a server that can serve the avatar files quickly and efficiently whenever it’s needed. To me, that’s the easiest thing someone can do but I suppose that’s because of my experience and understand that many artists who are well versed in their craft don’t usually dabble on the technical side of things.
Overall though, it shouldn’t be too much trouble to get going. However he notes ‘adult avatars’ being a tricky thing to pull off. However, when you own a VPS or Dedicated Server there’s pretty much zero oversight as to what’s going through that server, and if the traffic is encrypted then good luck for the providers. Generally, webservers are the ones being monitored for website types and files hosted on such.
However running a VPS/Dedi that can serve files is quite a bit more complicated to get working and stay working than a web hosting provider ever will be. This is because you have to setup an HTTP server or FTP (if the application like e.g. High Fidelity supports transferring over FTP) and when errors or issues inevitably come up, you’re going to have to learn a lot about how these systems work in order to get it all working and stay working.
The reason why the AWS or DigitalOcean solutions may not be ideal is because it’s direct storage by a large company which may very well induce oversight into what you’re doing with your content and files. Also it may become prohibitively more expensive depending on the content host as bandwidth becomes a major concern when every time the avatars have to load for people it will be pulled over and over again depending on the platform.
VPS/Dedi’s usually have more bandwidth and wiggle room to work with. But for say a few avatars under light load https://www.digitalocean.com/pricing/ isn’t a bad deal, not at all. However one must consider the longevity of that if they decide they don’t want adult content or certain types of adult content on the host. So finding hosts that you are confident in with their rules and the laws of the host country is extremely important.
Having to change servers after the fact is never good unless you have a domain name assigned to it or else all the links will break and have to be changed wherever they’re being pulled from. Oh but now I’m getting into technicals with that one, but that should be a given: always use a domain name to cover a dedicated IP that is being served to external sources, this is purely important for reliability purposes.
As for stealing avatars? You can always steal avatars, just like videos you can try and lock the content as much as you want but if your computer can see it then there are ways to take it directly from the memory or elsewhere. Only if the models were not stored on the computer then that would make them secure, but that’s like streaming your entire screen via a service like how Teamviewer or Steam In-Home Streaming does it, and that will not become the norm anytime soon (one can hope), especially not with VR.
Secure commerce can only go so far. The safest way to safeguard against piracy is to not fight it at all. Piracy is free advertising, if you make a product worth buying whilst remaining humble and fair in your pricing then not only will people want to support your continued efforts, the effort it takes to pirate outweighs the value so they might as well just buy it from you anyway.
All in all, piracy is a solved problem for products that are mass-released.