How to Resolve the Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance Error in WordPress


Encountering the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error in WordPress? Typically seen during updates to the WordPress core, plugins, or themes, this error occurs when the update process fails, leaving your site stuck in maintenance mode. In this guide, we’ll demonstrate a straightforward method to resolve the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error in WordPress. Additionally, we’ll delve into the reasons behind this issue and provide insights on preventing it in the future.

What Causes the WordPress Maintenance Mode Notification?

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

During the update process, WordPress downloads the necessary update files to your server, extracts them, and installs the update. Simultaneously, it puts your site into maintenance mode, displaying the message ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.’

This notification is triggered by WordPress creating a temporary .maintenance file in your website’s root folder.

Under normal circumstances, this notice is displayed for only a brief period, and after a successful update, WordPress automatically deletes the maintenance file, disabling maintenance mode.

However, if there is a slow response from your WordPress hosting server or if there is a low memory issue, the update script may time out and interrupt the process. In such cases, WordPress doesn’t get the opportunity to take your site out of maintenance mode.

In essence, your WordPress website continues to show the maintenance mode notice, requiring manual intervention to resolve the issue.

If you’re experiencing this situation, don’t worry. Follow this guide to quickly resolve it.

How to Resolve the WordPress Maintenance Mode Issue

To take your website out of maintenance mode, simply delete the .maintenance file from your site’s root folder using an FTP client such as FileZilla or your hosting’s file manager app.

Connect to your website’s files, locate the .maintenance file, right-click on it, and choose ‘Delete.’

If you can’t locate the .maintenance file in your WordPress root directory, ensure that your FTP client is configured to display hidden files. In FileZilla, you can enable the display of hidden files by navigating to Server » Force showing hidden files from the menu bar.

Once the .maintenance file is deleted, your site will exit maintenance mode, and the error should be resolved.

Troubleshooting the WordPress Maintenance Mode Issue

While assisting numerous users in resolving the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error in WordPress, we’ve encountered various unseen issues that may arise. Here are additional steps you might need to consider:

WordPress Remains in Maintenance Mode After the Update and Initial Fix

In such cases, you should update the wp-activate.php file found in your main WordPress folder, the same location where you located and deleted the .maintenance file.

To address this, either open the file using your hosting company’s file manager app or download it to your computer using FTP.

Locate the following code:

					define ('WP_INSTALLING', true)

Then, change the ‘true’ to ‘false’.

So your code will look like this:

					define ('WP_INSTALLING', false)

Next, save the modifications you’ve made to the wp-activate.php file and proceed to upload the file to your hosting server using FTP. If you are utilizing the hosting company’s file manager, saving the file should be sufficient to exit maintenance mode.

What to Do If Your Site Encounters Issues After Resolving the WordPress Maintenance Mode Error

If your site experiences problems after coming out of maintenance mode due to an incomplete or interrupted update, follow these steps:

Incomplete WordPress Core Update:
If the error occurred during the update of WordPress core software, refer to our guide on safely updating WordPress to ensure a proper update.

Plugin Update Causing Issues:
In the case of a plugin update causing the problem, temporarily deactivate all WordPress plugins using FTP. This action disables the potentially problematic plugin, allowing your website to come back online.

Afterward, log in to your WordPress dashboard and reactivate one plugin at a time. Identify the plugin causing the issue and manually install its update to ensure proper functionality.

How to Prevent the WordPress Maintenance Mode Error in the Future

The ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error is typically triggered by a sluggish server response or low memory on your web hosting server.

The most straightforward way to avoid this error is by upgrading to a higher hosting plan. Consider opting for managed WordPress hosting companies known for superior hosting performance.

If upgrading your hosting plan is not feasible, we suggest adopting a cautious approach to plugin and theme updates. Rather than hastily clicking the update link for each plugin, take the time to perform updates one at a time. WordPress often staggers the update process, and a momentary delay in connection could lead to conflicts, resulting in your site getting stuck in maintenance mode. Therefore, it’s advisable to update plugins patiently, one at a time.

Customizing the Maintenance Mode Notification with SeedProd Plugin

For a more streamlined approach in avoiding the default maintenance mode notification, manually place your WordPress site in maintenance mode before any updates. The recommended method for this is by installing and activating the SeedProd plugin—a top-tier WordPress page builder with an integrated maintenance mode feature.

Follow these steps:


1. Install and Activate SeedProd Plugin:

Start by installing the SeedProd plugin on your website. Refer to our step-by-step guide on installing WordPress plugins for detailed instructions.

2. Access Maintenance Mode Setup:

Once activated, go to SeedProd » Landing Pages in your WordPress admin panel and click on the ‘Set Up a Maintenance Mode Page’ button.

3. Select a Template:

Hover over your preferred template and click the check icon to select it for your maintenance mode page.

4. Customize with Drag-and-Drop Builder:

Utilize the SeedProd drag-and-drop builder to customize your maintenance mode page. The plugin provides standard blocks for text, images, and buttons, along with advanced blocks like a countdown timer, contact form, and social sharing buttons.

5. Arrange and Edit Blocks:

Drag blocks from the left menu onto the template on the right. Easily arrange them, and click on any element to modify color, size, text, font, and more.

6. Save and Publish:

Once satisfied, click ‘Save’ to store your changes. Head to the ‘Page Settings’ tab, and toggle the Page Status to ‘Publish.’

7. Activate Maintenance Mode:

When updating your website, enable the maintenance mode page by going to SeedProd » Pages, and toggle Maintenance Mode to ‘Active.’

8. Preview Maintenance Mode Page:

Visit your website to see the maintenance mode page in action.

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