Last updated July 1st, 2019

Is your WordPress website stuck in Maintenance Mode? No problem. Here’s a quick tip on how to get your WordPress website out of Maintenance Mode, and back to being fully up and running again.

One niggly thing that can happen in WordPress when updating plugins, themes or WordPress itself is that WordPress can get stuck in maintenance mode. Yikes! In this article I’ll take you through the steps you need to take to get your WordPress website out of maintenance mode. Let’s get out of maintenance mode!

So what causes WordPress to get stuck in Maintenance Mode?

Every now and again, you will need to make some updates on your WordPress website. When updates occur (manually or automatically) WordPress temporarily displays a page on the front-end of the website saying ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.’

WordPress Maintenance Mode Message | Dave McLean

The majority of the time this lasts just a few seconds. But sometimes things can go wrong with the update process, causing the maintenance message to appear permanent.

Some possible causes for the issue are:

  • A compatibility issue with the plugin or theme you are attempting to update
  • A large amount of plugin and theme updates are happening at once
  • You left the browser tab the while plugin or theme was being updated

How do I go about fixing the issue?

When WordPress shows the maintenance mode message during updates, it creates a file at the root of your WordPress website files. The file has the filename of ‘.maintenance’. When this file gets deleted, Maintenance Mode will disappear from your WordPress website.

The best way to get rid of this file is to access your website files by FTP. My preferred FTP client is Filezilla, but you can use any FTP client that you like.

Once you have logged in to your WordPress website via FTP, you should see the file named ‘.maintenance’. All you need to do is delete this file from your website files. Now when you try to view your website, it should load like it normally would.

Click to enlarge image

A couple of things of things to consider after fixing the problem

If your WordPress website uses caching of any kind, you may need to clear your cache before the maintenance mode message disappears.

You may also want to check the plugin or theme that you were updating when the problem happened. As long as there are no compatibility issues with the plugin/theme you are updating, it should update correctly.

What can I do to avoid this problem from coming up again?

There are a couple of things to consider when updating your WordPress plugins and themes;

Update a minimal amount of plugins and themes at the same time

Some website hosting struggles to do so many processes at the same time. This is quite common with shared website hosting, as resources for these types of web hosting are minimal. If your WordPress website uses similar web hosting, try only updating two to three plugins or themes maximum at the same time.

Check the compatibility of the plugin or theme you want to update

All plugins on the WordPress plugin repository show what version of WordPress they are compatible with. When updating any of the plugins on your WordPress website, check the repository to see if the plugin is compatible with your version of WordPress.

The same applies to WordPress themes. WordPress theme developers usually say what version of WordPress their theme is compatible with. If the theme isn’t compatible with your version of WordPress, then there is a chance your WordPress website can get stuck in maintenance mode.

Dave McLean

Dave McLean

Dave McLean is a graphic and web designer, with a passion for all things digital media. He's also a video gaming enthusiast, both retro and modern. He loves creating websites with WordPress and tinkering around with retro gaming setups using RetroPie.

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