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What is WordPress Maintenance Mode?

Have you ever wondered what WordPress maintenance mode is and why it exists? 

Maintenance Mode can be a confusing subject, which is why I’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you understand what WordPress Maintenance mode is and how you can use it on your site.

What is WordPress Maintenance Mode?

WordPress Maintenance Mode is an important tool introduced in version 3.0 designed to allow you to put your website into a “maintenance mode” while you are working on it. 

This helps prevent visitors from seeing a broken or incomplete page, which may discourage them from revisiting your site.

While you’re in maintenance mode, WordPress returns a 503 HTTP status code (service unavailable) to Google. This tells the search engine (such as Google) that the site is down for updates or some other reason and that they should check back again later.

WordPress Maintenance Mode
WordPress Maintenance Message

This will prevent Google from thinking that your site is down for good and updating its index accordingly.

You can use the maintenance mode to perform site updates, such as adding new content or plugins, without worrying about how it may affect search engine rankings.

Why Should You Use WordPress Maintenance Mode?

You can use WordPress Maintenance Mode to give yourself time to work on your website without worrying about visitors seeing a broken page. 

You can also use it as an opportunity to tell visitors that the site is currently unavailable for maintenance and will be back soon.

You can also use it to test new content on your site, such as a new plugin or theme. This will allow you to make sure that everything is working properly before publishing the changes.

Is Your WordPress Site Stuck in Maintenance Mode?

If you have a website running on WordPress and it’s stuck in maintenance mode, then you’re probably wondering what to do about it. You might have noticed that your website is unavailable or frozen, and when you try to access it, all you see is a “maintenance mode” message.

This can be frustrating because it makes it look like your site has gone down permanently or been hacked. But don’t worry! I’ll help you get through this common issue quickly and easily so that you can get back to work.

How to Avoid Getting Stuck in WordPress Maintenance Mode?

One of the most common causes of getting stuck in maintenance mode is when you update a theme or plugin and refresh the page before it has finished updating.

When that happens, the .maintenance file gets stuck and displays a maintenance mode error on the front end.

To avoid this, wait for the theme/plugin updates to finish before refreshing the page or navigating away.

It’s also a good idea to try and update the themes/plugins one by one, instead of all at once. Or you can select the Bulk actions from the dropdown menu on the themes/plugins page and select all the themes or plugins that you want to update.

Bulk Actions to Update Themes or Plugins

Finally, keep your themes and plugins up-to-date and don’t wait for a few months to install the latest updates. If you have 20 or more plugins with pending updates, it’s probably a better idea to update them one by one or test them on a staging site before updating them on your live site.

How to Fix a WordPress Site Stuck in Maintenance Mode?

There are many reasons why a site can get stuck in maintenance mode, but when it does, there are a few things you can do to get it back up and running again.

Here are the steps you can follow:

  • Log in to your site via FTP
  • Go to the root folder of your site and find a file with the name .maintenance.php
  • Delete the .maintenance.php file

Once you have deleted the file, go back to your site, reload it in the browser and it should return to normal. You can also clear your site cache to ensure the latest version of the site is restored.

How to Make a Custom Maintenance Mode Page?

Creating a custom maintenance page is a great way to let users know that you’re working on something, and it’s also a great way to keep them from accessing your site while you’re doing something like updating plugins or making changes to the code.

To get started, log into your WordPress site, click the “Plugins” tab in the main navigation menu, and then click “Add New.” Search for “Maintenance Mode” and install any one plugin by selecting “Install Now.”

Plugins in WordPress

Once installed, go back to your WordPress dashboard and click on the newly installed plugin. This will open up a new page where you can configure your maintenance mode settings.

First, select whether or not you’d like to show a message when users enter your site during maintenance mode; then choose whether or not they should be able to access posts or pages while they’re in maintenance mode. 

WordPress Maintenance Plugin Settings

You can also set specific times when this feature is active (e.g., between 4 p.m.-6 p.m.), as well as days of the week and months of the year when it won’t be active at all.

Once you’ve configured your maintenance mode settings, save the changes to activate them. Your visitors will now see a message when they enter your site that it’s currently in maintenance mode and won’t be available for use until your set date and time.

WordPress Maintenance Mode Plugins

Here are a few plugins that you can use to set custom maintenance mode messages on your site:

  • Maintenance by WebFactory Ltd — This plugin is free and you can use it to enable the maintenance mode and display a custom temporary page to visitors. You can upgrade to its pro version to access pre-made themes to customize the look of your maintenance page.
  • SeedProd — This plugin can do much more than just create a maintenance page. You can use it to set up a coming soon page, or landing page, or even build your entire site with its theme builder. This plugin is good if you’re looking for more than just a simple maintenance page.
  • CMP by NiteoThemes — CMP is a simple coming soon and maintenance plugin. It allows you to activate your maintenance mode and customize it with many features such as predefined layouts, custom logos, background images, custom text or even a subscribe form.
  • Minimal Coming Soon — As its name suggests, this is a simple maintenance mode plugin that allows you to create a maintenance page in just a few clicks.
  • LightStart by Themeisle — Like SeedProd, this plugin lets you create a custom maintenance page or a coming soon page. You can also use it to create landing pages or work with your WordPress Multisite installs.

There are plenty of plugins that add a maintenance mode to your WordPress site, with the difference between them lies in how easy they make it for you to customize the maintenance screen.

Final Words!

Maintenance mode is a neat little feature in WordPress that allows you to put your site in maintenance mode so that no one can see it while you’re updating or fixing things. 

When you place your site in maintenance mode, WordPress takes over the front page of your website and displays a message letting visitors know that they won’t be able to access certain parts of your site until further notice.

If you still have any questions on this topic, I’d be happy to help you out in the comments. Thanks for reading!


What is the WP maintenance mode?

WP maintenance mode is a feature in WordPress core that allows you to make your site inaccessible to visitors during times when it’s being updated or fixed. This can be useful if you need to perform maintenance on your site, such as updating plugins or themes or fixing an issue affecting the functionality of your site.

Does WordPress have a maintenance mode?

Yes, WordPress does have a maintenance mode. This feature was added to the WordPress core in version 3 and allows you to temporarily prevent visitors from accessing your website while it is undergoing changes.

What happens during WordPress maintenance mode?

When you activate maintenance mode, visitors will be redirected to a page that displays a message stating that your site is undergoing maintenance. In the backend, WordPress creates a .maintenance file which is responsible for displaying the alert on the front end.

When should I use maintenance mode?

You should use maintenance mode if you’re updating plugins, and themes or making major changes in your WordPress site. You can also use maintenance mode when implementing new features to ensure that they are working properly before making them available for public viewing.


Saksham Kumar

Designer, WordPress developer, and Marketer @ WPEssentials. Saksham creates and designs all the WPEssentials templates and writes on WordPress-related products. He also works as a freelancer and loves to help individuals, blogs, and brands establish their businesses online.

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