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23 Jun 2024

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How to Fix WordPress Being Stuck in Maintenance Mode
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How to Fix WordPress Being Stuck in Maintenance Mode 

Maintaining your WordPress website is one way to keep nasty errors at bay. However, in some cases, carrying out active maintenance can cause an error. If something happens to disrupt site maintenance in its tracks, WordPress will get stuck in maintenance mode. Fixing this issue isn’t intuitive.

However, WordPress has a simple fix to get your site back up and running. You’ll need to access your site directly through the server. However, you’ll have no worries if you can traverse your computer’s files.

This post will show you how to fix WordPress getting stuck in maintenance mode. However, before this, let’s discuss the causes of the issue.

What Causes WordPress to Be Stuck in Maintenance Mode

For the uninitiated, WordPress puts itself into an inaccessible ‘state’ when carrying out automatic updates, plugin updates, and more. It’s called maintenance mode, which you usually do not know of. This mode affects both the front and back ends of your site.

This isn’t necessarily an issue, and it can be helpful to keep errors at bay. However, there are a few instances where it will interject itself into your workflow:

  • If there is a genuine compatibility issue that causes your site to be stuck in maintenance mode.
  • Updating many plugins or themes at once can keep your site stuck in maintenance mode for a while.
  • If you close your browser tab during an automatic update, this can cause issues.

You’ll know there’s a problem because once you access your site, you’ll be greeted by the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” message:

wordpress maintenance mode error

However, while it initially causes panic, there is an easy fix. Let’s examine how to get the job done.

How to Fix WordPress Being Stuck in Maintenance Mode

Before you begin, there are a few prerequisites you’ll need to have in place:

  • You’ll need to navigate to the root directory to gain administrator access to your server.
  • A Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) client, such as FileZilla or Cyberduck.
  • The necessary skills to use SFTP.

However, once you have these, the process is straightforward. Using your SFTP client, log into your server using the credentials found in your hosting control panel. They may also be in an email you received when you first signed up to your host.

When you’re in, you’ll see a list of your WordPress files and folders:

wordpress ftp

Next, find the folder for your site. It could be under www, public_html, or root. Alternatively, it’ll be in a folder named after the site. Once you’ve found the directory, enter it and look for a maintenance file.

wordpress maintenance file

WordPress created this temporary file to help with the update process. If you leave it on your server, your site will become inaccessible.

Deleting this file and heading to your site should get you back online. If you’re still not seeing your site, there are two additional steps to take:

Again, check your site once you’ve implemented these additional steps. However, at this point, you should be back up and running!

How to Prevent WordPress from Being Stuck in Maintenance Mode In the Future

Of course, fixing WordPress getting stuck in maintenance mode is good. However, preventing it from happening in the future is even better. As such, there are three items on your to-do list to stop WordPress from being stuck in maintenance mode going forward:

  • Make sure your browser remains open when carrying out updates.
  • Ensure that any updated plugins are compatible with your site’s current setup.
  • Update plugins and themes in batches to minimize WordPress maintenance mode issues.

Keeping the error at bay does not offer a 100 percent guarantee; however, this should be enough to prevent WordPress from getting stuck in maintenance mode unless you need to address a more major issue.

In Summary

There are a few niggly errors and issues in WordPress that are simple to fix but not intuitive to diagnose. WordPress getting stuck in maintenance mode is one of them, and most users aren’t even aware this site state is active.

In this post, we’ve discussed WordPress getting stuck in maintenance mode and shown you how to fix it. It’s simply a case of accessing your site through SFTP and deleting the temporary file created when WordPress uses maintenance mode. Once it’s gone, your site will be back up and running.

If you’d like to leave WordPress maintenance to the experts, check out our ongoing 24/7 WordPress support, updates, and maintenance plans!

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