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 stays 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.
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 into maintenance mode and displays the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute’ notice during the process.
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 and 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 WordPress website will continue showing the maintenance mode notice, and you will need to manually fix it.
If you’d prefer written instructions, just keep reading.
How to Fix the 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.
Simply connect to your website’s files, find the .maintenance file, right-click on it, and select ‘Delete’.
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 the client to show hidden files by clicking on Server » Force showing hidden files from the menu bar.
Once the .maintenance file has been 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 app in your WordPress hosting control panel and then deleting the .maintenance file.
How to Avoid WordPress Maintenance Mode in the Future
We already know that the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error is caused by a slow server response or a 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 to quickly click on the update link underneath each plugin. WordPress then staggers the update order. However, even a millisecond of delay in connection could cause a conflict leading your site to be stuck in maintenance mode.
Instead of quickly clicking on the ‘Update’ link, we recommend patiently updating one plugin at a time.
How to Customize the Maintenance Mode Notification
An easier solution to avoid showing the default maintenance mode notification is by manually putting your WordPress site in 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 will 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.
After that, you will need to select a template for your maintenance mode page. Simply hover over the template you want to use and click the check icon.
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 a countdown timer, contact form, and social sharing buttons.
Simply drag any block you want from the menu on your left onto the template on the right.
SeedProd 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 are 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.
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 Maintenance Mode to ‘Active.’
You can then visit your website to see the maintenance mode page in action.
Troubleshooting the WordPress Maintenance Mode Error
Since we have helped thousands of users fix the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error in WordPress, we have also 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 Is 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 app or download it on your computer using FTP.
Next, you need to find the code:
define ('WP_INSTALLING', true)
Then, 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 are 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 safely update WordPress.
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 online.
Next, you will need to log in 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 that it’s working properly.
We hope this article helped you fix the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error in WordPress. You may also want to bookmark our ultimate guide on fixing the most common WordPress errors and check out our top picks for the best email marketing services for small business.