Domain 'names' are a way of allowing addresses for computers, in the way that your normal home or office will have its own address. This makes it easier for us to remember and also work with them. Computers however do not work with actual 'names', they process data on the Internet using numeric codes, otherwise known as Internet Protocol (IP) addresses which are similar to telephone numbers.
For example, the address ‘www.NetCulture.net' can easily be split into recognisable information :-
‘www' = a web server
‘NetCulture' = NetCulture
‘net' = shows the type of organisation or country
In computer terms, our main IP is 126.96.36.199, as you can see these addresses are impossible to decipher for the human eye. This is where the idea of the Domain Name System (DNS) came into being, it is basically the Internet's version of a telephone directory. When a human readable address is requested form a client machine, the DNS converts this into an IP number which the computer can then process.
Organisations who have systems on the Internet register their domain name requests with organisations throughout the world. These details are then held on machines which allow the DNS to function, and convert the domain to an IP address. Note: normally when registering a domain name, the Internet authorities require that the machine is operable, i.e. the IP address is responding to requests.
It should be understood that a domain name relates to the organisation itself. Using the example of ‘www.abc.co.uk', the actual domain name is ‘abc.co.uk'. The proceeding ‘www' is the system that is requested. If numerous machines are allocated at ‘abc.co.uk', these could be contacted using the form of ‘machineA.abc.co.uk', ‘machineB.abc.co.uk' and so on.