WordPress Maintenance Mode, What is it?

By September 16, 2018WordPress

Why Does WordPress Have A Maintenance Mode

WordPress maintenance mode is enabled while you update plugins or themes. Maintenance mode helps prevent users from accessing your site while the updates are completed. If a user were to access your site while the updates are running they may PHP errors or other “text” that you don’t want them to see. This mode also prevents users from running database updates before the system is ready for them.

How does WordPress Maintenance Mode Work

When WordPress updates are triggered via the WordPress admin screen the site will go into maintenance mode. While the updates are running a user will see the message “Briefly unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance. Check back in a Minute“, and a blank file named .maintenance is placed in the root directory of the web site.  The .maintenance file tells the WordPress software that the site is performing updates and that the user should not be allowed to access the site. Once the updates are completed the .maintenance file will be deleted and the site is returned to normal operation.

WordPress Stuck In Maintenance Mode

Some times during the course of updating your WordPress website your site will get stuck in maintenance mode. Generally what this means is that the .maintenance file did not get deleted. This can be caused by navigating away from the update page while it is running,  updating a large number of plugins,  and error with one of the plugins during update or some other type of server error during the update.  When this happens usually removing the .maintenance file from the root directory of the website. This can usually be done with an FTP/SFTP client or other file manager tool provided by your hosting provider.  Once the file is removed your site should be returned to normal operation.  You should never remove the .maintenance file while the updates are running. Only remove this file once you are sure updates are complete.

Manually Enable WordPress Maintenance Mode

WordPress does not come with a handle tool or setting to enable and disable maintenance mode. However here are two easy ways to do this.

Manual Maintenance Mode – You can enable WordPress maintenance mode by creating an empty file titled .maintenance in the root directory of your website. This mimics what WordPress does when you run updates. The users of your website will see  “Briefly unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance. Check back in a Minute“.  You also will not be able to access your site until you remove the .maintenance file. If you just want to take the site down while you perform other work or just prevent users from accessing your site this might be all you need.

Maintenance Mode using a plugin –  If you want to still use your site as an admin while running in maintenance mode then you should be using a maintenance mode plugin.  One of the best maintenance mode plugins is called WP Maintenance Mode.   This plugin gives you a lot more control over what your users see while the site is in maintenance mode as well as lets you still use and view the site if you are logged in. This is a great tool to use if you want to take the site offline while you build it or do other content updates to the site.

WP Maintenance Mode Screen Shot

WP Maintenance Mode Screen Shot

If you are not able to resolve problems with your WordPress website or your site is stuck in maintenance mode, we offer WordPress Maintenance Services to help keep  your site running in tip top shape.,