WordPress stuck in maintenance mode: what to do?


Let’s learn how to fix WordPress blocking in maintenance mode when it involves updates, themes or plugins.

The success of WordPress is unquestionably linked to the simplicity of use and the rich UI that allows (almost) anyone to open a website / blog and publish content on the Net without the need to know markup, scripting and programming languages. This simplicity of use, however, is often misleading, as it somehow hides the complexity of the technologies on which WordPress is based, solutions that require a certain level of technical expertise.

With this, this article will begin a series of in-depth analysis in which the most frequent errors in which one can encounter working with WordPress will be analyzed.

A note before starting: some of these errors can be caused by unsuccessful updates, either of the Core or of themes or plugins. To avoid being in unsolvable situations, such as data loss, it is always essential to have a recent and functioning backup of the entire installation available .

WordPress locked in maintenance mode

One of the most common errors can occur when an update of the Core, themes or plugins is performed. Every time you start an update, in fact, WordPress activates the maintenance mode that can occasionally freeze, making the site inaccessible. In this case, the user will display the words ” Momentarily unavailable for maintenance, try again in a minute “, or, in the English version, ” Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance” Check back in a minute “.

Of course, the fact that WordPress displays the maintenance notice does not mean that you are necessarily faced with a CMS error. If WordPress correctly performs all the updating operations (download, decompression and installation of new files), the warning will be visible only for the time strictly necessary for the update. The problem arises only if the procedure is not successful and the warning becomes permanent.

How to solve the problem

The first step is to make sure that the Core is updated to the latest version of WordPress. It is essential, in fact, to have an installation that works properly and a failed upgrade may have left a corrupt installation. The update of the Core, in this case, must be done via FTP.

The next step is deleting the file <code>.maintenance</code> from the WordPress root. This file is created by WordPress during the update and, as long as it is present, the site will remain inaccessible. This operation must also be carried out via FTP.

Once WordPress is updated, it will be necessary to deactivate all the plugins present in the installation. If you have access to the control panel, the operation can be performed directly from the WordPress dashboard. You can select all plugins, and then turn them all off as shown in the image below.

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At this point it will be necessary to reactivate one plugin at a time and check the functioning of the site each time. If, when a plugin is reactivated, the site is blocked again, the plugin that causes the problem will be identified. Therefore, it will be necessary to update the extension manually. If the problem persists, then it will be a compatibility problem and you will need to contact the developer of the resolution plugin.

If the control panel can not be reached, you will still need to act via FTP. You will then need to change the directory name /wp-content/plugins/to something arbitrary, such as /wp-content/plugins-vecchi/and create a new empty directory /wp-content/plugins/. Then, one by one the plugins will be moved from the old directory to the new one and will be reactivated one by one from the dashboard, until the plugin responsible for the malfunction is identified.

The problem could eventually be caused by the topic. In this case it will be enough to go to the predefined theme and then to carry out the same analysis carried out previously on the plugins.

Customize the maintenance page

There are several ways to customize the page that shows the maintenance notice. In addition to the do-it-yourself solutions, more suitable for developers and systems engineers, WordPress users have several plugins available that offer customized pages to users who access the site during an update. Among the many free solutions available in the WordPress plugin directory, these are the most popular plugins:

  • WP Maintenance Mode.
  • Maintenance.
  • Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode.

All these plugins give the possibility to create temporary waiting pages or maintenance that allow you to offer an image of professionalism to your site.

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