Server Disaster Recovery Plan: What to Include & Example Plan

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No matter how optimally configured your web hosting servers may be, there is always the risk of them being damaged in a disaster.

Disasters are inevitable and they can lead to having dissatisfied customers, financial losses, and a tainted reputation for your business.

Fortunately, there are certain steps that can be taken to ensure continuity in the face of a disaster.

A thorough server disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a surefire guideline to get your server back up and running as soon as possible.

So, what exactly is a disaster recovery plan? Let’s take an in-depth look.

What is a Server Disaster Recovery Plan?

server disaster recovery plan

A server disaster recovery plan is a written guideline that contains comprehensive instructions on how to mitigate unforeseeable incidents such as natural disasters, cyber-attacks, or human errors.

The strategies in a disaster recovery plan are designed to minimize the negative effects of a disaster and get your website or web application operating post-disaster with as little downtime as possible.

You cannot know when a disaster will strike, but you can have a detailed plan for when one happens. This is the disaster recovery plan.

The more thorough the plan, the more prepared you will be in the event of a disaster.

When is a Server Disaster Recovery Plan Useful to Have?

The disasters covered in a disaster recovery plan do not always have to be cataclysmic events that render your entire server inoperable. In fact, the disasters covered in the plan can be anything that causes damage or interruptions.

The more damaging situations that a plan covers, the better the plan. This will ensure that no matter how large or small a disaster, you are prepared.

Below we at RedSwitches have mapped out some of the most common disasters you may encounter: 

  • DDoS attacks 
  • Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes
  • Power shortages
  • Hardware malfunctions
  • Leaking cooling pipes 
  • Network failures, etc.


By having a detailed list of possible disasters, you can prepare for any of them. The more detailed the list, the more efficient your DRP will be.

What Should a Server Disaster Recovery Plan Include?

A DRP is all about preparedness. The more thorough your plan, the faster you will recover from a disaster.

The elements of an efficient DRP are clearly defined RTOs (recovery time objective) and RPOs (recovery point objective), IT asset inventories, personnel roles, identification of sensitive documents and data, and disaster recovery drills.

You will also want to have clear goals, an analysis of possible disasters, offshore backups, response procedures, and a communication plan.

Let’s take a closer look to see what all of these steps look like in a DRP.

12 Step Server Disaster Recovery Plan Example

Each step of the plan is designed to ensure you minimize the damage of the disaster and get your site or app operating again.

  • Step #1: Make a detailed list of possible disasters that may affect your servers. Potential disasters will vary depending on the type of your business, where you are operating, as well as the location of your servers.
  • Step #2: Have a clear understanding of your goals. What do you want/need to accomplish during the recovery process? Define your goals and write them down.
  • Step #3: Define RTO and RPO that assess the amount of time it takes to recover your site and the objective you want to reach during the recovery.
  • Step #4: Assign personnel roles and give employees instructions as to what they individually need to do during a disaster.
  • Step #5: List applications and inventory to get an understanding of the IT assets that need to be recovered first and which ones can wait.
  • Step #6: Identify sensitive documents and data to know what aspects of your business cannot be lost without disastrous effects.
  • Step #7: Make offshore backups of all of your files. This is particularly useful in the event of a natural disaster that wipes out all of your servers and data.
  • Step #8: Map out disaster recovery sites. These are locations that your company can temporarily relocate to in the event of a disaster.
  • Step #9: Have clear, easy-to-understand disaster response procedures. These will be the steps taken to ensure everyone knows what to do and how to maintain continuity.
  • Step #10: Formulate a communication plan. Everyone from management and employees to customers and PR need to have a clear line of communication. Being transparent about what is happening while assuring the public that the disaster will not greatly impact the company will minimize financial losses.
  • Step #11: Test the plan using drills to train you and your team to be as effective as possible in the event of a disaster. Practice makes perfect after all.
  • Step #12: Routinely update the plan at least twice a year so as to make new threat evaluations.

3 Types of Server Disaster Recovery Plans

There are 3 main types of server disaster recovery plans. Which one you utilize depends on your business’s needs and hosting methods.

Let’s take a look.

#1. Data Center DRP

This plan focuses on the entire building where your servers are located. It takes into account everything from HVAC and utilities, to fire prevention and backup power sources.

All of these aspects work together to keep your data safe in the case of a disaster and must be taken into account. Data DRP significantly reduces the risks of cyber-attacks and intruders, but your server is still susceptible to natural disasters.

#2. Network DRP

A network server disaster recovery plan is a guideline to follow in the case of network performance degradation or a total network outage.

The main objective of a network DRP is to get the network operating again as soon as possible. Typical elements of this type of DRP include data backups, network weaknesses, threat analysis, and network recovery procedures.

The causes of a network disaster range from faulty configuration to bandwidth over-usage. Usually, these disasters are caused by human error.

#3. Cloud DRP

A cloud server disaster recovery plan is a cost-effective method for storing critical IT assets in a virtual environment.

Since the data stored in the cloud is independent of a physical server, this is one of the best forms of protection against severe natural disasters.

The first step of a cloud DRP is to back up data from your physical servers so that you can recover the data when a disaster strikes. The more cloud environments you have, the higher your chances are of getting your site back up and running after a disaster.

However, with more cloud environments you will have to spend more time managing all of them.

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Coming up with a server disaster recovery plan sounds like a lot, right? Well, that is the truth. Being prepared for a disaster can take time and making a detailed DRP is no walk in the park.

That’s why a fully managed dedicated server can be one of the best investments you ever make.

With a fully managed dedicated server hosting plan, your hosting provider will ensure your server is up and running at all times. They guarantee a high level of uptime for your server and deal with any issues that come up.

Get in touch today to explore our managed hosting services and get a fully managed dedicated server suitable for your business.

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