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How to Fix Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance Error in WordPress

Are you seeing the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error in WordPress? This error usually appears while updating WordPress core, plugins, or themes.

Basically, your WordPress site fails to finish the update and leaves your site stuck in maintenance mode.

In this article, we will show you how to easily fix the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance” error in WordPress. We will also show you why this error occurs and how you can avoid it in the future.

Fix Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance Error in WordPress

Why Does The WordPress Maintenance Mode Error Occur?

The WordPress maintenance mode page is technically not an error. It is a notification page.

During the update process, WordPress downloads necessary update files to your server, extracts them, and then installs the update.

WordPress also puts your site on maintenance mode and displays the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” notice during the process.

Unavailable for scheduled maintenance error in WordPress

To trigger the maintenance mode notification, WordPress creates a temporary .maintenance file in your website’s root folder.

If everything works normally, then this notice will probably be displayed for only a few seconds. After the successful update, WordPress will automatically delete the maintenance file to disable maintenance mode.

However, sometimes due to a slow WordPress hosting server response or low memory issue, the update script will time out and interrupt the process. When this happens, WordPress does not get a chance to take your site out of maintenance mode.

In other words, your site will continue showing the maintenance mode notice, and you will need to manually fix it.

How to Fix WordPress Maintenance Mode Error?

To get your website out of maintenance mode, all you really need to do is delete the .maintenance file from your site’s root folder using FTP.

Delete maintenance file

If you can’t find the .maintenance file in your WordPress root directory, then make sure your FTP client is set to show hidden files.

In Filezilla, you can force it to show hidden files by clicking on Server » Force showing hidden files from the menu bar.

Show hidden files in FTP

Once the .maintenance file is removed, your site will come out of maintenance mode, and the error should be fixed.

If you don’t know how to use FTP, then you can also remove the files by going to the file manager in your WordPress hosting control panel, and then deleting the .maintenance file inside the file manager.

How to Avoid WordPress Maintenance Mode in the Future?

We already know that the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance” error is caused by slow server response or low memory issue on your web hosting server.

The easiest way to avoid this error is by upgrading to a higher hosting plan. We recommend going with one of these managed WordPress hosting companies that offer superior hosting performance.

If upgrading to a higher hosting plan is not an option, then we recommend doing plugin and theme updates one at a time.

Often users have a tendency of quickly clicking on the update link underneath each plugin. WordPress then staggers the update order, but even a millisecond of delay in connection could cause a conflict leading your site to be stuck in maintenance mode.

WordPress Plugin Update One at a Time

Instead of quickly clicking on the Update link, we recommend patiently updating one plugin at a time.

How to Customize Maintenance Mode Notification

An easier solution to avoid showing the default maintenance mode notification is by manually putting your WordPress site on maintenance mode before installing any updates.

The best way to do this is by installing and activating the SeedProd plugin. It is the most popular maintenance mode plugin for WordPress. You can customize your maintenance mode page using the drag and drop builder and integrate different email marketing tools.

First, you’ll need to install the SeedProd plugin on your website. For more details, see our step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

Upon activation, go to SeedProd » Pages from your WordPress admin panel and click on the ‘Set Up a Maintenance Mode Page’ button.

Set up a maintenance mode button

After that, you’ll need to select a template for your maintenance mode page. Simply hover over the template you want to use and click the check icon.

Choose a maintenance page template

Next, you can customize your maintenance mode page using the SeedProd drag and drop builder. The plugin offers standard blocks for text, images, and buttons and advanced blocks such as countdown timer, contact form, and social sharing buttons.

Simply drag any block you want from the menu on your left onto the template.

SeedProd visual editor

It also makes it super easy to arrange the blocks in the template the way you want. Plus, you can click on any element to edit its color, size, text, font, and more.

Once you’re happy with the maintenance mode page, click the ‘Save’ button to store your changes. Next, head over to the ‘Page Settings’ tab and click the Page Status toggle to Publish your page.

Publish your maintenance mode page

Now, whenever you are updating your website, simply enable the maintenance mode page on your WordPress website.

To activate the page, head over to SeedProd » Pages from your WordPress dashboard and toggle the maintenance mode to ‘Active.’

Enable maintenance mode in SeedPro

You can then visit your website to see the maintenance mode page in action.

Maintenance mode page preview

Troubleshooting WordPress Maintenance Mode Error

Since we have helped thousands of users fix the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance” error in WordPress, we have helped users solve several unseen issues that can come up.

Below are some additional steps you might have to take if the above solution does not work.

WordPress still stuck in maintenance mode after the update and fix above?

If this is the case, then you need to update the wp-activate.php file located in your main WordPress folder. This is the same place where you found and deleted the .maintenance file.

You will need to either open the file using your hosting company’s file manager or download it on your computer using FTP.

Next, you need to find the code: define ('WP_INSTALLING', true) and change the true to false.

So your code will look like this:

define ('WP_INSTALLING', false)

After that you need to save the changes and upload the file to your hosting server using FTP. If you’re using the hosting company’s file manager, then simply saving the file should get you out of maintenance mode.

My site is broken after I fixed the WordPress maintenance mode error. How do I fix it?

An unfinished or interrupted update may cause issues when your site comes out of maintenance mode.

If this error occurred when you were updating WordPress core software, then you will need to follow our guide to manually update WordPress using FTP.

If the error occurred when you were updating a WordPress plugin, then you will need to temporarily deactivate all WordPress plugins using FTP. This step will ensure that the corrupt plugin is disabled, and your website will come back.

Next, you will need to login to your WordPress dashboard and activate one plugin at a time, to see which plugin caused the issue. After that you need to manually install the plugin update, so it’s working properly.

We hope this article helped you fix ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error in WordPress. You may also want to bookmark our ultimate guide on fixing the most common WordPress errors.

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Reader Interactions

92 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Hello,
    First of all, thanks for saving my site. I had the same problem with my localhost website and was so tensed because I was about to make it live today. This problem occurred when I tried updating ewww image optimizer. I don’t know how to say thanks to you.
    Thanks for the information.

  2. This article done the trick for me, simply deleted the file from the directory. Useful post guys, thanks a lot.


  3. Awesome, its really easy I was worried, but this articles helped me to get rid of all my worries. Thank you very much

  4. Worked like magic. Thanks for the “straight to the point” approach to providing solutions

  5. This is all great but I can’t login to the site anymore. How do I fix anything if I can’t login? Help???!!!

  6. hi there,

    i had the message saying briefly unavailable for schedule maintenance. check in a minute.

    I went on site and it just show blank screen, what does this mean?


  7. Hi. Thanks a lot for this tutorial. You saved me from reseting my hosting account in order to restart my web design.

    God bless.

  8. yay, my website live again after deleting maintenance files in cpanel, i’am wait for some minutes and keep maintenance, thanks for info

  9. Thank you, thank you. I was worried there but your advice and your commenters really helped

  10. Thank you. I found it. I have one question. Why we cannot update plugin? While I was updating I face that error.

  11. i found that when host can not connect to update wordpress this problem occur
    thank you
    but how we can prevent WP to disable plugins??
    in this problem my site was reachable but all plugins not work and sitemap was error in google

  12. It will be nice if WordPress will provide a script to delete .maintenance file via direct link, because if you don’t have accesto FTP your dead!

  13. This is a great article. saved me hours of research and frustration.
    Thanks for WPBeginners Editorial Team

  14. Thanks. Site back up and running. It got stuck in maintenance. Removed file from FTP and all back as it should be.

  15. I can access wp-admin but when I select ‘Please update now’ at top of dashboard (WordPress 4.4.1 is available) I get the following message
    ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.’. I have read through forum and everything seems to suggest deleting the hidden .maintenance file but this file does not exist. Any further ideas?

  16. could not find .maintenance. Too many files. Why is it so hard to give a step by step instruction ?

    • Frank I have ensured hidden files are accesible and tried it with boat Filezilla and cPanel and there is no .maintenance file.

      One thing that is different to other similar querys is that I seem to be able to access all features of my wp-admin..can post, update page, update plugins etc. only thing I seem to get message is when I try to update wordpress 4.4.1. Any significance? Andy

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