Easy Methods Of Troubleshooting And Customizing WordPress In Maintenance Mode

Regular maintenance of your WordPress website is necessary to ensure its performance is optimal. WordPress maintenance mode is a feature that notifies visitors you are updating the site.

Sometimes maintenance mode causes problems, like a page getting stuck even though the update is complete. This may affect the overall site performance if you do not know how to fix it.

Using managed WordPress hosting is one way to avoid such issues. Choose from WordPress hosting to save time. But if you prefer to fix it manually, you have come to the right place.

In this article, you will learn what the WordPress maintenance mode is and how to troubleshoot its problems. In addition, we will let you know how to customize the appearance of the mode’s page to make it more interesting to your site’s visitors. 

WordPress Maintenance Mode

The maintenance mode feature displays a page telling the visitors the website is being updated. It will be triggered automatically when you are updating your site. Once activated, the notification page displays this message: 

Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute. 

Backend processes stop for some time during the update, which makes the website temporarily inaccessible. In this state, WordPress uses the wp_maintenance() function to generate a temporary .maintenance file.

The duration depends on the update’s size and numbers. For example, it may take longer if you are updating and installing a new theme and plugins at the same time. Once you’re done, the site will go back to normal, and the .maintenance file will be automatically removed.

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How to Customize Your WordPress Maintenance Mode

You can activate the maintenance mode manually by adding code or installing a plugin. This way, you’ll be able to customize the default maintenance page.

Here are two ways of doing it:

Using the functions.php File

Before proceeding, make sure you have backed up your WordPress site because you will be editing the functions.php file. If you are not careful, wrong code may cause errors.

Follow these steps:

  1. From the WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance -> Theme Editor.
  2. There will be a list of theme files. Select Theme Functions to open functions.php.
  1. In the text editor, move the cursor to the end of the file and paste the following code there. Adding it will activate the default maintenance page. You can customize the HTML message. 
// Activate WordPress Maintenance Mode

function wp_maintenance_mode() {

if (!current_user_can(‘edit_themes’) || !is_user_logged_in()) {

wp_die(‘<h1>Under Maintenance</h1><br />Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.’);



add_action(‘get_header’, ‘wp_maintenance_mode’);


  1. Locate the wp_die function. You can edit the HTML text inside the apostrophes (‘’). 
  2. Finally, click Update File to complete the process.

Remember to remove the code from the functions.php file to put the website back online again once you are finished with the maintenance. 

Using a Plugin

WordPress features various maintenance mode plugins, such as WP Maintenance Mode and SeedProd.

Here is how to customize the text of the maintenance screen using these plugins:

WP Maintenance Mode

  1. Download and install the plugin. 
  2. Go to Settings -> WP Maintenance Mode from your WordPress dashboard.
  3. On the Settings page, there will be five tabs. Click on the Design tab.
  4. To customize the splash page, go to Title (HTML tag) and add a title.
  5. Then add a Heading and edit the message in Text.
  6. Click Save settings to complete the process.


  1. Download and install the plugin.
  2. Go to the plugin menu from your WordPress dashboard.
  3. To create a maintenance mode page, go to Templates and choose one from the library. You can customize it as you like. Then, click Save to complete the process.
  1. To enable the maintenance mode, go to the plugin dashboard and toggle the switch to Active.

When to Use WordPress Maintenance Mode

It is important to tell your visitors about your website status. Enabling the maintenance mode means you are shutting down your website temporarily. So, use this feature when you:

  1. Install new plugins and themes.
  2. Update WordPress and themes or plugins to newer versions.
  3. Work on the site’s code. A staging site is recommended to check for any errors.
  4. Make changes to the site structure.

Why Your WordPress Is Stuck in Maintenance Mode

The WordPress maintenance mode is activated whenever you make changes to the site. After updating it successfully, the site should start working again.

Sometimes, maintenance mode can get stuck due to the following reasons:

  1. Plugins or themes may not be compatible with the current WordPress version.
  2. The WordPress storage is low, which causes an error when the script attempts to delete the .maintenance file.
  3. The process is interrupted before it is finished.

Removing the .maintenance file is the easiest fix to restore your site to its normal state again. In this case, you will need a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client. We will be using Filezilla for this method, so make sure to configure it correctly. Once connected, follow the instructions below:

  1. Navigate to the Remote Site tab and click the public_html folder.
  2. Find the .maintenance file.
  3. Right-click and delete the file.
  4. Load your WordPress site to check if it’s operational.


Website maintenance should be done carefully. If you encounter errors like the maintenance mode screen persisting, it’s vital to fix them as soon as possible. Failure to do so may impact your business’s reputation and leave a poor impression on your visitors.

This article has taught you how to solve the issue and customize the WordPress maintenance mode screen using custom code and a plugin. You can now implement these practices to maximize your website’s performance. Good luck!

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