When you're setting up a website, especially the domain, you'll need to secure everything so that you don't lose it. Whenever I purchase a domain I'll always purchase the whois guard so people can't creep on me and I'll also have it set up for auto renewal even if I don't know how successful the website is going to be.
Setting up your domain to auto renew will relieve a lot of headaches later on down the road when you're super busy and getting a lot of emails each day. About 2 weeks ago I got an email from NameCheap which was to let me know that I had a domain set to expire and I should renew it as soon as possible. Now if you renew it early you don't reset the time of when the domain status starts, it will just get paid early and continue on the current year and keep going after the renewal date. An example of this would be if your domain is going to expire on January 20th and you pay for it on January 10th. You don't lose those 10 days, you just pay for your renewal early.
But setting it up to auto renew will make it so that you don't have to worry about your renewals and panic if your domains expire lol.
I just went through this whole process this morning when my main website wend down because the hosting and domain were not set up to auto renew. I thought for sure that I set it up to auto renew, but I guess I forgot. I saw all the "Renew Now You Dumby!" emails, but I ignored them because I thought I was safe. I log into my website today, well I try to, and I can't. I quickly log into NameCheap to see that I did not have the auto renew feature enabled and now my website was down. Luckily NameCheap puts your domain into a grace period which allows you to re-purchase your domain name and hosting if you choose. If you don't re-purchase within the grace period you will lose it forever.
I'm super glad I caught onto this quick enough to renew everything because if I put it off I would have lost my website AND domain. But I was lucky and renewed in time so that I didn't lose anything. My website was down but was still on the server so I didn't have to re-upload anything.
So go set up your domains and hosting to auto renew and avoid similar panic attacks to what I had this morning lol