How to Fix WordPress Stuck in Maintenance Mode? [Tutorial]

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 How to Fix WordPress Stuck in Maintenance Mode

WordPress Stuck in Maintenance Mode 🛠️ [FIXED]

While carrying out an update in WordPress, maintenance mode is activated. If there is a problem during the process, your website may get stuck in maintenance mode.

We will know because when we visit it, the following message will appear instead of the web:⚙️ “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” 

Need to Fix WordPress Stuck in Maintenance Mode

Commonly asked questions:

What is WordPress Maintenance Mode?

WordPress maintenance mode ⚙️ is a feature of core WordPress which gets enabled while updating to the latest version of WordPress or update plugins and themes. It displays a message across your site that lets users know you’re working on something so you can perform updates without forcing users to use a semi-broken site.

Every time you update your version of WordPress or any of the plugins you have installed on your WordPress site, WordPress briefly activates the WordPress maintenance mode.

Usually it happens so quickly that you don’t even notice it. At the most, you’ll just see a message like this:

wordpress-maintenance-mode

my wordpress site is stuck in maintenance mode

The update screen within WordPress typically reads

“Enabling maintenance mode…” and “Disabling maintenance mode…” in its update sequence.

When we proceed to updates of plugins or themes on a WordPress blog, it automatically goes into maintenance mode during the operation, which in principle only lasts a few seconds.

WordPress activates maintenance mode by generating a file called .maintenance in the root of the folder tree. To exit maintenance mode, all you have to do is eliminate it, via FTP.

There are so many reasons for your WordPress site to get stuck in maintenance mode whether you’re upgrading from a simple plugin or making large-scale changes to the site, a maintenance mode is a handy tool you need to have.

Some Aspects You Need To Pay Attention to in Maintenance Mode

If you have a non-commercial website, you can choose the information that you will enter in the maintenance message. But, if you have a commercial website, you should pay attention to a series of requirements.

The fact that your website is in maintenance mode does not exempt you from the obligation to continue showing all the information legally required in the legal notice. Therefore, the page shown during the maintenance work of your website must contain, in this case a legal notice.

The legal notice will include information regarding the name of the owner of the website, address and contact information, among other things.

In any case, it is advisable that you offer your users a way to get in touch with you, not only because in this way you provide them with a good service, but also to be able to answer their questions during the maintenance period.

Other Related WordPress Issues:

Causes Of WordPress Get Stuck in Maintenance Mode

The WordPress maintenance mode is activated when an update is applied. When visitors tries to access a website that is in maintenance mode, a message will pop up to notify them that you are currently working on it. Situation gets complicated when the update process causes WordPress to get stuck in maintenance mode.

When making an update, a file called .maintenance is created in the root folder of WordPress. This file tells WordPress to put your site into maintenance mode and it contains the information needed to display the message that will pop up for users. When the update installation is completed, WordPress deletes the .maintenance file and the message should disappear right away.

The maintenance mode prevents the appearance of an error message or the one known as The White Screen of Death (WSoD); that is, WordPress shows an empty page. A common error page, for example, can be Error 503 “Service unavailable”

503-service-unavailable-error-wordpress

If you edit your web page without putting it in maintenance mode, a blank page will appear with an error message for the users.

This means that visitors do not know why the web page is not available. In the worst case, they will believe that your site has been permanently disabled.

To prevent from losing your potential users, you must keep them informed of what is happening on your web page through maintenance mode. The page shown may look something like this:

 maintenance-page-wordpress

In this way, users can see immediately that your web page is temporarily disabled, but you can make a phone number available to the visitors and other useful functions so that they do not feel helpless.

There are several situations where the website may get stuck in maintenance mode:

After A Site Update

The first situation is when you make website updates, which may involve updating themes, plugins, or installing and setting up a new theme. Usually, while setting up a new theme, you are required to choose at least default options to see how it behaves. Maybe this involves customizing the widget areas. Or maybe you want to customize colors and fonts or build a special layout.

Whatever the case, you certainly do not want your visitors to be confused when they browse different articles and pages and see a different site each time.

In such situations, enabling maintenance mode will tell them that you’re working on your site and can come back later once you’ve set everything up the way you want.

Building a website

The second situation is when you build your site on a live domain, and you do not want your visitors to see what you are about to launch. But, maybe you want to have a way to increase your email list or the number of your subscribers that you want to keep informed when everything is ready.

In this case, it will not make sense to present a site to the visitors. The elegant solution is to activate the maintenance mode that allows your visitors to subscribe to your newsletter and follow you on social media.

Some other possible reasons why WordPress gets stuck in maintenance mode are:

  • In your browser, you have closed one of the tabs by accident or in the middle of an automatic update.
  • In case you are updating all plugins/themes at once.
  • There’s probably a compatibility problem that causes an error.

Because of this error, your users may persistently see this message when they try to visit your site:

“Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.”

How to Fix WordPress Stuck In Maintenance Mode?

It is not usual, but it happens that after a WordPress update, an installation, or after updating some plugins or themes, when trying to access the WordPress website, we see the following message in the browser:

“Not available for scheduled maintenance. Check the site again in a few minutes.”

And the first thing we think is that WordPress Maintenance Mode has been enabled and this has not been appropriately disabled, which now prevents us from seeing the web.

It is not a problem of update or error after the installation of WordPress that should worry us since the solution is straightforward and we should not think about recovering backup copies of the website or undoing the path we have traveled.

This is a warning that WordPress shows when doing an update, whether it’s about themes, plugins or WordPress itself.

During the update process, you have clicked on some other option, without waiting for the update to finish and that has generated a hidden file called .maintenance in the main folder of the installation that you have updated, and that is why this warning appears.

Fix “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance” / Disable maintenance mode via FTP

In a summary: To fix the issue, you can simply

  • Delete the . maintenance file &
  • Disabling plugins via FTP

Follow these Steps to :

  1. Open file system on server. You can use cPanel or SSH.
  2. Find .maintenance file in the root of your WordPress install
  3. Delete the .maintenance file
  4. Reload the browser and you should see you site as normal
  5. In case that something went wrong when you got stuck in maintenance mode. you either need to manually fix the problem (with a plugin or theme) of else restore a backup from before the problem happened.

One good thing to note: by default, WordPress stores the time a site went into maintenance mode in the .maintenance file, and will stop paying attention to it after ten minutes.

Lets explain above points in detail for more clarity.

You must simply access your Hosting Panel (cPanel or the one you use) and locate the hidden file. So you must ensure in your Hosting Panel that you enable the option to show hidden files, or in your FTP client (files with a dot before the file name on Linux systems are hidden files) called .maintenance and delete it.

The .maintenance file is a “hidden” file (the. (dot) in front of the name indicates that it is a hidden file).

To make it visible, you must do the following:

  • Access your cPanel.
  • Go to the File Manager, and in the top right you will see the “Configure” option.
  • Click to open a popup window where you will see the option “Show hidden files” that you must mark.

cpanel_Disable maintenance mode via FTP

  • Navigate to the folder/public_html (or the folder of the affected installation).
  • There you can locate the .maintenance file and delete it.

Delete the .maintenance file

If you do not find the aforementioned file, it is because it does not exist, you have removed it or the update has been completed and it has been automatically deleted.

You can also do this task by connecting via FTP to your Hosting account and locating the aforementioned file.

After that refresh, the page (Control + F5) and you will see the web loading without problems.

If problems persist, it is often due to an incompatible plugin. So you can deactivate all plugins and then reactivate them step by step:

Disabling plugins via FTP

  • Access Server via SFTP.
  • Open the folder /path-to-your-site/wp-content/ [You will find it here – under wp-content >> folder plugins]
  • Rename the folder plugins (Right click on folder plugins >> Rename). [For example
    – plugins_deactivated.]

If the problem was with a plugin, you should now be able to log back in to your WordPress site.

  • Log in WordPress
  • Rename the plugins_deactivated folder to plugins.
  • Go to the Plugins area.
  • Activate your plugins step by step until the problem reoccurs.
  • Finally, rename the plugin folder again.
  • Log in to your website and activate all unproblematic plugins.

👉 Expert Tip – Clear your site’s cache. Most host now have a caching layer and a button in the WordPress admin area that says “clear cache”

How to Activate the Maintenance Mode in WordPress Using Plugins?

If you do not feel safe working with root and PHP directories, you can activate it, quickly and easily, with a WordPress maintenance plugin. Depending on the requirements, there are wordpress maintenance mode plugins suitable for it.

Maintenance plugin

A WordPress maintenance plugin that offers many possibilities is maintenance, which provides several templates that visitors can see while the page is in maintenance mode.

These templates are completely customizable: from the text and the color to the background, you can define everything and change it as you wish.

For example, it is possible to resort to a countdown timer to show when the website will be available again. This also works with multisite installations (each blog has its configuration of maintenance mode in the network).

In addition, you can offer visitors the chance to subscribe to a newsletter during maintenance. This function informs readers about the activities on the page and when the web will be activated again.

Seedprod plugin

Seedprod is another of the best WordPress maintenance plugins, which also offers an option to inform your users that the page will be available shortly.

With this plugin, you can add a header, an SEO title, and a meta-description. In addition, you can also upload a logo or a test image and adapt the page in terms of appearance and content.

The advantage of this maintenance mode plugin for WordPress is that it can exclude subpages from maintenance mode; in this way, search engine robots can continue to track the web; and crawlers consider a page that is entirely in maintenance mode as not available.

Elementor Maintenance Mode

Its a versatile page builder plugin that enables you to design your site on the front end, and immediately see your changes. What’s more, it includes a easy to use maintenance mode that keeps visitors from viewing your site, while still permitting administrator access.

One of Elementor’s particularly useful features is the option to select from either the Maintenance Mode or Coming Soon page.

Minimal Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode

This plugin offers a very sleek and modern maintenance page option. Search engines can still crawl your website while the splash page is visible to visitors.this plugin offers lots of options that’ll give your maintenance page a look and feel all of its own.

Under Construction

This is a free WordPress plugin that helps you build a maintenance or coming soon page without any technical knowledge. Just by selecting a theme, connecting social media and adding a few details about the page, you can have a maintenance mode up and running in just a few minutes.

Whether you want to put the site under construction or pull it out of the mode when you are done with the work, the plugin lets you control everything with a simple button.

How to Activate the WordPress Maintenance Mode Without Plugins

If you want to change to the WordPress maintenance mode manually, you can add in the root directory a file called .maintenance (do not forget the dot before the name), in which the following PHP code is inserted:

<?php

 $upgrading = time();

?>

This file is created automatically and as a rule, is deleted when you start using a plugin for WordPress maintenance. WordPress will also load it if it was created manually.

Regarding the timestamp that will appear, you should not do anything, but you cannot forget to delete the file after having finished the maintenance tasks.

Another way to start maintenance mode manually is through functions.php, template file used to add functions and features to the WordPress project. In this case, insert another PHP code into the file to enable maintenance mode. There are different variants of these PHP codes. For example, a possible entry in functions.php would look like this:

<?php

function maintenace_mode() {

  if (!current_user_can( 'administrator') ) {

    wp_die('Maintenance.');
 
  }

}

add_action('get_header', 'maintenace_mode');

?>

You can also enter text to be displayed on the page during WordPress maintenance and it is also possible to insert images, although this requires extensive knowledge of PHP. A relatively simple entry in functions.php could look like this:

function kb_maintenance mode() {

  if (!current_user_can( 'edit_themes') || !is_user_logged_in() ) { 

  wp_die('

    <h1>We are updating our website</h1>

    <p>We are currently working on this website. Please check back soon.</p> ', 'Website in Maintenance Mode');
}} 
add_action('get_header', 'kb_maintenance mode');

These codes create the default WordPress page in maintenance mode with a relatively simple design.

As you can see if you want to start WordPress maintenance, you have two aforementioned options:

Do it manually or with a plugin. 

You must choose one option or another, depending on your technical knowledge and the changes you want to make. If the changes are minor, normally you do not need to use a plugin.

However, if the editing is complex and your web project is extensive, an additional plugin can be a great advantage.

For example, it can allow you to inform the users automatically of the time it will take to perform maintenance and from when the page will be available again.

How To Prevent your site from getting stuck in WordPress maintenance mode?

Now that you have learnt how to fix WordPress stuck in maintenance mode, make sure to understand what caused the issue in the first place.

Preventing it from happening again is much more important than quickly solving it. While the issue is fairly simple to fix, you can still take some positive steps to help decrease the likelihood of your site getting stuck in maintenance mode again.

Check plugins and themes compatibility

Check plugins and themes compatibility

Make sure all your plugins have been updated to their latest version. In addition, the update should have occurred in recent months, no more than a year.

If the plugin has not been updated in a long time, visit the website of the authors of the plugin and check if the plugin is compatible with the latest version of PHP (PHP 7.2).

If the plugin is not compatible, switch to the most popular and recently updated plugin that does the same. You really should not be running any plugin that is not compatible with the latest version. Poorly maintained plugins may cause security risks and Maintenance Mode error.

Make sure plugins/themes are compatible with your version of WordPress before updating. You can ensure the compatibility of plugin and themes right from your WordPress dashboard.

Avoid Updating all plugins at the same time

If you do not keep your plugins and themes up-to-date, chances are they will not work at any point in time and it may also cause WordPress theme security issues. Older software can cause conflicts with new versions of WordPress or other plugins.

In addition, obsolete plugins and themes can cause WordPress security vulnerabilities on your site, which attackers can exploit, to infect your wordpress theme with malware. Dont worry, we have a solution for that too, read our post on how to scan & clean up malware infected wordpress theme .

Try not to update all plugins at the same time; if you do so, you may end up getting stuck in WordPress maintenance mode. You should minimize the update and let it finish before proceeding to the next one.

Use the SSH commands

You are not able to remove a .maintenance file. It keeps appearing even after you have deleted the directory via FTP.

Solution: Remove the .maintenance file through Secure Shell (SSH)

Your plugin may have uploaded some hidden files within the plugins directory that did not appear in the FTP.

If you have SSH access to your WordPress:

  • Enter your site through SSH.
  • Use the SSH commands to navigate the complete list of folders.
  • Find the .maintenance file.
  • Remove the .maintenance file from the root directory of WordPress by typing in the following line of code:
rm .maintenance

Once you solve this problem, you may want to rerun the automatic WordPress update.

Get Help From WP Hacked Help

Performing an update of WordPress is of paramount importance if you wish to keep it secure and hack-proof, whether for the core, themes, and plugins.

With the help of  WP Hacked Help veteran WordPress developers and engineers, you can bugs fixed, WordPress malware removal, and improve security of your wordpress site without getting stuck in WordPress maintenance mode.

For the professional help to fix WordPress maintenance mode error, you can contact us.

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