If you spend any time on the Internet sending e-mail or browsing the Web, then you use domain name servers without even realizing it. Domain name servers, or DNS, are an incredibly important but completely hidden part of the Internet, and they are fascinating! The DNS system forms one of the largest and most active distributed databases on the planet. Without DNS, the Internet would shut down very quickly.

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we will take a look at the DNS system so you can understand how it works and appreciate its amazing capabilities.