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How to Put Your WordPress Site in Maintenance Mode

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Do you want to put your WordPress site in maintenance mode?

Maintenance mode allows you to show a user-friendly notice to visitors instead of a broken website. You can also control exactly who has access to your site while you’re working on it.

In this article, we will show you how to easily put your WordPress site in maintenance mode.

How to put your WordPress site in maintenance mode

Why and When You Need to Put WordPress in Maintenance Mode

A lot of the time you can make changes to your WordPress website without having to put it in maintenance mode. For example, you can publish new posts, update WordPress, and install new plugins without any downtime.

However, sometimes you may need to work on your website for a longer period. For example, you might want to completely redesign your WordPress blog.

Some changes are also riskier than others, such as setting up a new plugin that changes your website’s behavior. While you’re making the change, the site may look broken to your users.

You might even lose data that gets created during this period. For example, if you’re making major changes to an online store, then you might lose any new orders that customers place.

One solution is to set up a staging website so you can work on your site in private. Many of the top WordPress hosting companies offer 1-click staging websites, including Bluehost, SiteGround, and WP Engine.

If you don’t use a staging site, then you should put your website into maintenance mode instead. Instead of a broken website, visitors will see a helpful maintenance page that lets them know what’s happening.

You might even suggest some alternative actions that visitors can take, such as following you on social media or joining your email list.

An example 'under construction' page

Having that said, let’s take a look at how to put your WordPress site in maintenance mode.

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If you’d prefer written instructions, then simply use the quick links below to jump to the method you want to use.

Method 1. Set up WordPress Maintenance Mode using SeedProd Plugin (Recommended)

The easiest way to create a completely custom maintenance page is by using SeedProd.

SeedProd is the best page builder for WordPress, used on more than a million websites. It allows you to create beautiful coming soon pages in WordPress, improve your 404 page, design unique landing pages, and even build custom WordPress themes using drag and drop.

There’s a premium version of SeedProd that comes with more than 300+ professionally-designed templates and blocks. However, you can put your site into maintenance mode using the free SeedProd plugin, so that’s what we’ll be using in this guide.

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the SeedProd plugin. For more details, see our guide on how to install a plugin in WordPress.

Upon activation, go to SeedProd » Pages. In the ‘Maintenance Mode’ section, click on the ‘Set up a Maintenance Mode Page’ or ‘Edit page’ button.

How to set up maintenance mode in WordPress

The next step is building the page that visitors will see when you enable maintenance mode.

You can either choose a ready-made template or start with a blank design. We’re using ‘Down Maintenance Mode’ in all our images but you can use any template you want.

To select a template, simply hover your mouse over that design’s thumbnail and then click the ‘checkmark’ icon.

SeedProd's ready-made maintenance templates

After selecting a template, you’ll be taken to the drag-and-drop builder, where you can start customizing the maintenance mode page.

On the left side of the screen, you’ll find blocks and sections that you can add to your design. The right side of the page is the live preview.

A professionally-designed maintenance page

Most templates already have some blocks, which are a core part of all SeedProd designs. To add more blocks to your maintenance page, simply drag them from the left-hand menu and then drop them onto your design.

For example, you might add your custom logo, videos, contact form, and more.

Adding blocks to a custom page design

The options you see may vary depending on the plugins you’ve installed on your website.

For example, if you have RafflePress then you’ll be able to run a contest on your maintenance page using the Giveaway block, as you can see in the following image.

A maintenance page, with a giveaway

To customize a block, simply click to select that block in your layout. You can then change the block using the settings in the left-hand menu.

As an example, let’s see how you can connect the default ‘Contact Us’ button to your own business email address.

Simply click to select the ‘Contact Us’ button in the live preview. In the left-hand menu, you’ll see a ‘Link’ field, which shows ‘mailto:john@example.com’ by default.

Customizing the CTA button

This means the button will open the visitor’s default email app with the ‘To’ field already filled in as ‘john@example.com.’

To change this, simply type your email address into the ‘Link’ field. Make sure not to delete ‘mailto:’ as this opens the visitor’s default email app.

Capturing leads with SeedProd

You can also make other changes to the button, including using a different alignment, button text, and changing the button’s size.

To remove a block from your design, simply go ahead and click on it. You can then select the trash can icon.

Deleting blocks from a WordPress custom page design

You can now continue customizing the template by adding new blocks, removing any blocks you don’t want, and making changes in the left-hand menu.

When you’re happy with how the maintenance page looks, it’s time to publish it by clicking the ‘Save’ button.

Designing a custom maintenance mode page

To enable maintenance mode and show visitors your custom maintenance page, just go to SeedProd » Landing Pages in the WordPress dashboard.

Here, click on the switch in the ‘Maintenance Mode’ section so that it shows ‘Active.’

Activating maintenance mode in WordPress

Maintenance mode won’t show for you because you’re logged into the site. However, if you visit your site in an incognito browser tab then you’ll see the maintenance page in action.

When you’re ready to relaunch your site, simply go to SeedProd » Landing Pages. Under ‘Maintenance Mode,’ click on the slider to turn it from green (Active) to grey (Inactive).

Removing the under construction page

Now, anyone can access your WordPress website.

Controlling Website Access for Logged-in Users

By default, SeedProd will show the maintenance mode page to all non-logged-in users. However, anyone who has an account will still be able to log into your site. For example, subscribers on your membership site and customers on your WooCommerce store can still access their account.

You may want to change who has access to your site while it’s under maintenance. For example, if you’re developing a site for a client then they may still need access so they can monitor your work.

You can change the access controls by upgrading to SeedPro Pro. After activating the plugin, SeedProd will ask for your license key.

Adding the SeedProd license key to your website

You can find this information under your account on the SeedProd website

After that, simply go to SeedProd » Landing Pages and then click ‘Edit Page’ under Maintenance Mode.

Editing the WordPress maintenance mode settings

This will open the SeedProd page builder.

Here, click on ‘Page Settings,’ followed by ‘Access Control.’

Controlling who can access your site in maintenance mode

To start, it’s a good idea to activate the ‘Exclude Default’ slider. This allows visitors to access URLs that contain the following terms: login, admin, dashboard, and account. This will stop people from getting locked out of their accounts.

You can also allow users with specific browser cookies to access your account while it’s in maintenance mode, using the ‘Bypass Cookie’ toggle. Just be aware that this feature may not work if you’re using a WordPress caching plugin.

Instead, we recommend selecting the user roles that can access your site while it’s in maintenance mode. To do this, click on ‘Add Role’ and then select any role from the menu.

Controlling access to your site using SeedProd's access controls

You can also include or exclude user roles created by your WordPress membership plugin or an eCommerce plugin.

When you’re happy with the access controls, don’t forget to click on the ‘Save’ button to store your settings.

Exclude Specific Pages from Maintenance Mode

SeedProd Pro also lets you include or exclude specific pages from maintenance mode. This comes in handy if users need access to certain pages.

For example, if you have a custom login page then you would usually want to exclude it from maintenance mode. If you provide customer support via email, then you may want to exclude your contact form as well.

You can do this in SeedProd’s ‘Include/Exclude URLs’ settings. Simply choose between ‘Include URLs’ or ‘Exclude URLs’ and then enter your links into the box.

Excluding URLs from maintenance mode

When you’re happy with how the maintenance page is setup, click on the ‘Save’ button to store your updated access control settings.

Method 2. Setup Maintenance Mode Using LightStart

Another option is to use the free LightStart plugin. This is a great choice if you want to create a simple maintenance mode page. However, this plugin uses the standard WordPress Page and post editor, which isn’t as powerful as SeedProd’s drag-and-drop builder.

The first thing you need to do is install and activate the LightStart plugin. For more details, see our step-by-step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to Settings » LightStart.

The LightStart WordPress maintenance plugin

You can now choose between LightStart’s maintenance mode, coming soon, and landing page templates.

Since we want to create a maintenance mode, click on the ‘Website is under maintenance’ template and then select the ‘Continue’ button.

Choosing a template for your WordPress maintenance mode page

You will now have the option to join the LightStart email list.

You can simply go ahead and click ‘I’ll skip for now, thanks.’

The WP Maintenance plugin email list

LightStart will now go ahead and create a simple page using its built-in template.

To see this page, simply click on ‘View page.’

Creating a custom 'under construction' page for WordPress

This opens the template in the standard WordPress post editor.

Note: Unhappy with this default template? You can find other designs by going to Settings » LightStart in the WordPress dashboard. Then, click on the ‘Design’ tab to see all the different templates you can use.

You can now make changes to the design in exactly the same way you edit a page or post.

Designing a custom page using the WordPress page and post editor

The template has a few social media placeholders that you’ll want to link to your own pages.

Simply click each of these icons and then type the URL into the little bar that appears.

Adding links to your social media page

When you’re happy with how the maintenance page looks, click on the ‘Update’ button in the content editor to save your changes.

Now you’ve designed your page, it’s time to configure your maintenance mode settings by going to Settings » LightStart in your WordPress dashboard.

You can then click on the ‘General’ tab.

LightStart general settings

By default, search engine bots can’t see your site while it’s in maintenance mode. This can hurt your WordPress SEO and may affect where your site appears in the search engine rankings, especially if the maintenance takes a while.

That’s why we recommend opening the ‘Bypass for Search Bots’ dropdown and choosing ‘Yes.’ This will allow any search engine crawlers to bypass your maintenance page.

Configuring the LightStart maintenance mode page

As the site admin, you can access your WordPress dashboard and website while it’s in maintenance mode. However, you may want to grant access to other user roles.

You can give users access to the WordPress dashboard by opening the ‘Backend’ dropdown and then choosing a user role from the list.

Allowing access to your WordPress dashboard

To give visitors access to your public-facing site, use the ‘Frontend’ dropdown instead.

Similar to SeedProd, you can exclude certain pages from maintenance mode so they’ll always be accessible to visitors. For example, if you have a booking form then you may want to make this page available even when the rest of your site is down for maintenance.

To exclude a page, simply add its URL to the ‘Exclude’ box.

Excluding URLs from 'under construction' mode

If you use Google Analytics to track visitors to your WordPress website, then make sure you click on the ‘Modules’ tab.

You can then open the ‘Use Google Analytics‘ dropdown and select ‘Yes.’

LightStart's Google Analytics module

Then, simply add your tracking ID to the ‘Tracking code’ field.

There are lots more settings that are worth looking at, and most are self-explanatory. When you’re happy with how maintenance mode is set up, click on the ‘Save settings’ button to store your changes.

Now, you can activate maintenance mode at any time. Simply select the ‘General’ tab and click on the ‘Activated’ radio button.

How to activate maintenance mode in WordPress

You can then scroll to the bottom of the page and click on ‘Save settings.’ Now, if you visit your site while in an incognito browser tab, you’ll see the maintenance page.

When you’re ready to take your site out of maintenance mode, simply go back to the ‘General’ tab and select ‘Deactivated.’ Then, simply click on the ‘Save changes’ button and your website will once be available to anyone who visits it.

How to Add a Chatbot to Your Maintenance Mode Page

Chatbots allow you to interact with visitors, record information about them, and even do lead generation in WordPress.

LightStart has a simple pre-programmed live chatbot that can ask visitors if they want to get notified when your site is out of maintenance mode by subscribing to your email list.

A lead generation chatbot

To see how the chatbot is set up, click on the ‘Manage Bot’ tab.

By default, this bot is named Admin but you can change this by typing a new name into the ‘Bot Name’ field.

How to add a chatbot to a maintenance mode page

You may also want to add an avatar, which will appear in the chatbot popup.

After that, you can see the pre-programmed conversation under ‘Customize Messages.’

How to create a custom chatbot in WordPress

You can change any of these messages but the default settings should be a good fit for most WordPress websites.

To make the chatbot live, go to the top of the screen and click on the ‘Activated’ button.

Activating the WordPress chatbot

As always, don’t forget to click on ‘Save settings’ to store your changes.

Now if you visit the maintenance page in an incognito tab, you can talk to the chatbot.

A chatbot pop in WordPress

If you’re collecting user information through a chatbot or maintenance page, then it’s important to make sure your site is GDPR compliant.

We hope this article helped you learn how to put your WordPress site in maintenance mode. You may also want to see our guide on how to create custom pages in WordPress, and our comparison of the best business phone services to allow visitors to contact you while your website is under maintenance.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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95 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. Mrteesurez says

    The plugins you shared here are great to get this done especially the LightStart plugin, it has all what is need for a typical maintenance page, it also offer not, that’s fantastic.
    I want to ask if I bypass for search engine, which page will search engines pick up as home page if some search for my website on Google ?

    • WPBeginner Support says

      It should link to your home page if you allow the bypass for search engine bots.

      Admin

      • Mrteesurez says

        Thanks for the reply but won’t the plugin use the maintenance page as home page or how does it work to show homepage on search results while using by-passing feature ?

        • WPBeginner Support says

          The page home page for your users would be the maintenance page while the bots should see your actual homepage. You would want to check with the plugin’s support for the method of how they allow for the bypass.

        • Mrteesurez says

          Ok that means, different pages are showed to both users and bot during bypassing which makes it crawls the actual hopepage and show it in search results. Well it’s clear enough.
          Thanks for your reply and guidance.

  3. Jiří Vaněk says

    If I turn on maintenance mode with a plugin, will this avoid the problem with the .maintenance file on FTP, for example when updating more plugins? Sometimes it gets created on FTP and then has to be manually removed.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      It would not prevent that file from being created but normally that file should only stay if there was trouble during the process of updating a plugin on your site.

      Admin

      • Jiří Vaněk says

        Coming back to this topic, very often this happens to me the moment I give a bulk plugin update. So is it better to update gradually instead of doing a bulk update? Thanks for your time and answers.

        • WPBeginner Support says

          Your host likely has a limit set in their system. In that case you would want to do gradual updates and if you reach out to your host they may have an option to remove the limit you are running into.

  4. Giuliano says

    I’m looking for a plugin that adds a page when the site is under maintenance. Also I want to add a Wpforms contact form. I’m not sure I understand this guide. I understand that the maintenance mode is manual and not automatic as I want.

    • WPBeginner Support says

      For what it sounds like you’re wanting you would want to use SeedProd from this guide.

      Admin

    • WPBeginner Support says

      If the user is logged into your site they should see the content or SeedProd does have the option for a password for viewing the content. If you take a look at SeedProd’s documentation you can see the current method for how to set this up :)

      Admin

  5. Santosh says

    i followed your advise and put my website on maintenance mode but i now want to undo the maintenance mode (my situation changed and i did not do any maintenance tbh). To disable the maintenance mode i tried to go to the admin area
    but it takes me to the website and does not display admin login page from where i can disable the maintenance module(MM).
    please help, how to reverse MM and get back the website live.

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