Stuck in WordPress Maintenance Mode: Get your site back!

By October 3, 2017 October 14th, 2018 WordPress

Updating plugins/themes/core files in WordPress is usually pretty smooth… you check what you want to update, hit the button, up pops the “enabling maintenance mode” message, the system goes through the list, then at the end, it finishes with “disabling maintenance mode”, and off you go.

But once in a while, something happens that gets the install stuck in Maintenance Mode. Whenever you update something, WP creates this .maintenance file in the root of the WordPress install, this file is used to display the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” message. Usually, when the updates finish, WP deletes this file, but when something goes wrong with the update, sometimes it doesn’t get removed. What you’re left with is a site that’s stuck with the message on the front-end, and the back-end is blocked.

So here’s how you get rid of the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” message and get your site back.

  1. Get access to the actual files on the server, either through (S)FTP, cPanel, or whatever system your web host uses.
  2. Find the option that shows you the hidden files on the server (in cPanel, it’ll give you the option when you click on File Manager, or you can activate it through the gear settings icon in the top right when you’re already in the File Manager – In Filezilla (for FTP access), You’ll need to click on Server, then “force showing hidden files” on the menu bar).
  3. Navigate to the root of your WordPress install & find the .maintenance file, usually in the public_html folder.
  4. Remove the file
  5. Yay, your site is back

And that’s pretty much it. Did you know you can actually customise your maintenance page? The vanilla page is not very pretty but can be styled as you see fit, SeedProd did a great post on how to do this -> check it out.

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