How To Fix and Customize WordPress Website Maintenance Mode With Ease And Grace

JUNE 9, 2017  8 MINS READ

WordPress website maintenance mode is a core feature that is been introduced in the version 3.0. Whenever we update a plugin, theme or core update a default page with a message a “website is under maintenance” will be shown.


In this post let us see how to put your WordPress website under maintenance, the common problems that will occur in the WordPress website maintenance mode, how to fix the problem and to customize the WordPress website maintenance mode message.

Table Of Contents[tables_content title=”Table Of Contents”][table_content link_type=”custom-link” title=”How WordPress Maintenance Mode Works” link=”#how”][table_content link_type=”custom-link” title=”WordPress Website Stuck In Maintenance Mode” link=”#stuck”][table_content link_type=”custom-link” title=”How To Get Website Back From WordPress Website Maintenance Mode” link=”#back”][table_content link_type=”custom-link” title=”Things To Remember Before Getting Into WordPress Website Maintenance Mode” link=”#remember”][table_content link_type=”custom-link” title=”Customizing WordPress Website Maintenance Mode Page” link=”#customize”][table_content link_type=”custom-link” title=”- Creating Maintenance Page” link=”#page”][table_content link_type=”custom-link” title=”- Maintenance Page Customization Using Plugin” link=”#plugin”][table_content link_type=”custom-link” title=”Interesting Custom Maintenance Page Messages” link=”#interesting”][/tables_content]

How WordPress Maintenance Mode Works

As told before WordPress maintenance mode helps the user to identify that the website is under maintenance. If your maintenance mode is taken for several hours this message will avoid the feel of your website is broke and also not to annoy your user.

You can use a timer to let the user know when the site will be back again, or you can use the contact form to help the customer leave their details and you can reach them back again. How can you customize your maintenance page that fits your website theme? I will talk about it shortly.

WordPress will automatically trigger the wp_maitnenace() function which will create a temporary .maintenance file when you update your important WordPress plugins, WordPress themes or core WordPress update. This file includes the default message as shown below


[pro_tip title=”Pro Tip:”] It is wise to take a backup of your website before the update process. You can use the backup plugins or you can use the backup support service[/pro_tip]

After completing the update .maintenance file will be removed automatically from your WordPress site and your website will be back alive.

WordPress Website Stuck In Maintenance Mode

Since WordPress website maintenance mode is an auto-triggered function of WordPress from the core we cannot control or alter the maintenance file message. Sometimes if there was a clash in the update process then your WordPress website will get stuck into the maintenance mode.

When your website stuck in the maintenance mode you cannot login to your website, you cannot access your admin area until your site is back alive and your users will also be shown the same “Under Maintenance Message.”

The reason for this is either one or more update cannot be completed and your update process will clash. WordPress thinks that the update process is not yet completed, which will make the temporary .maintenance file remain. Until it is deleted your website will be stuck in the WordPress website maintenance mode.

How To Get Website Back From WordPress Website Maintenance Mode

As you can see the problem is the .maintenance file is not finding its way back to its home. Deleting it will free your website from WordPress website maintenance mode.

In order to do this login to your hosting account and reach out to the location where your WordPress files reside. In that, you can see the .maintenance file is sitting along with other WordPress files like this.


After deleting the .maintenance file, clear the cache and refresh your browser, your website must be back now.

Things To Remember

These are the points we need to remember before getting into WordPress website maintenance mode. Mostly WordPress update clashes occur when you manually give random updates to the plugins. Before approving updates, check how many plugins you need to update. If there are many plugins to update then update them one by one.

You can also choose the plugins you need to update and choose the WordPress bulk update action. This helps the WordPress to decide in which order it needs to update the plugins without conflicting the update process.

If you are updating a highly customized plugin make sure you manually update the plugin without letting your updates vanish.

[experts_box experts_title=”Easy One Click Solution:”]Update highly customized theme without even dropping a sweat. Buy Update a Plugin Support Service[/experts_box]

Customizing WordPress Website Maintenance Mode Page

.maintenance file is a self-triggered dynamic file, which we cannot edit or customize. But we can use other ways to customize the maintenance page by bypassing the .maintenance file. You can do this by creating a maintenance page and make it call when the wp_maintenance() function is triggered or you can simply use a plugin for this.

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Creating Maintenance Page

In this method, you can create maintenance page that fits your theme style and your taste. You can also give your own maintenance message here. How creatively can you make a maintenance page? I will show some examples later in this section. At first, let us see how to create a custom maintenance page.

Whenever there is a content file for a triggered action, WordPress sees the wp-content file first. By placing a maintenance page file in the wp-content file you can bypass the default WordPress website maintenance mode message. Hongkiat postgave us this idea.

Make your own custom WordPress website maintenance mode message in CSS and make it as a .php file. We can name it as maintenance.php file and put this file in the wp-content. After that paste the following code in the wp-includes/load.php

[code language=”php”]

if ( file_exists( WP_CONTENT_DIR . ‘/maintenance.php’ ) )

require_once( WP_CONTENT_DIR . ‘/maintenance.php’ );


Maintenance Page Customization Using Plugin

WP Maintenance Mode plugin make your maintenance page customization easier. By default, you can add your own message and add custom fields to make it more useful.

You can put on a timer when you will be online or as said before you can add a contact form and you can exclude a particular page from WordPress website maintenance mode. This plugin is most popular and has 500,000+ install as of now.

If you are a tech guy you can easily customize the plugin and you can get the desired result. Because all the major codings are done in the plugins we have only have to make some patches to make it fit on our website.

[experts_box experts_title=”Easy One Click Solution:”]Customize the plugin to get exact desired output and extend the functionality. Buy Add Custom Functionality To A Plugin Support Service[/experts_box]


  • Fully customizable (change colors, texts and backgrounds);
  • Subscription form (export emails to .csv file);
  • Countdown timer (remaining time);
  • Contact form (receive emails from visitors);
  • Coming soon page;
  • Landing page templates;
  • WordPress multisite;
  • Responsive design;
  • Social media icons;
  • Works with any WordPress theme;
  • SEO options;
  • Exclude URLs from maintenance.

Interesting Custom Maintenance Page Messages

In the maintenance page you can be creative, funny or you can make it in a useful way for you and the user. Here are some examples of such interesting custom maintenance page messages

Countdown- WordPress Website Maintenance Mode plugins give this option just choose the time and set it. It helps the visitors to have an idea when they can visit back to see the live website.


Be Informative- You can give you reason and tell your visitors when you will be back live again. Linkedin make it clear over here with the details and one simple image


Creative With Words- You can also play with words and make your visitors come back again soon, like what SoundCloud has done with their website


The Service Still Available- If you have excluded any particular web page from maintenance mention it in the message. If someone is looking for that particular page they no need to wait. For example, have a look at HSBC they let their customers know about internet banking still active.


Making the visitor curious- No one is better than Apple in this, they know the audience pulse and how to handle that. If you are making a major change to your website in this maintenance process use this opportunity to make a hype “what changes are they doing?”. For instance, take a look at one of APPLE’s maintenance message

WordPress Website Maintenance Mode On

Now you know how to do WordPress maintenance mode without getting stuck in the middle, even if you stuck you know how to get out of it. Have you been stuck in the WordPress website maintenance mode before? If so share your experience in the comment section.

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I hope the examples of the maintenance page messages given above will help you create interesting custom maintenance message. Happy website!!

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