How to fix being stuck in WordPress maintenance mode

How to fix being stuck in WordPress maintenance mode

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

– The WordPress maintenance mode

This message will automatically appear on your website when you update your plugins, themes, or WordPress.

Normally, this so-called “WordPress maintenance mode” disappears after the updates are completed. Unfortunately, it happens from time to time that the maintenance mode is still there even after the updates are done and your website therefore is not reachable.

Since you can no longer log into the backend, it is easy to lose your head. But don’t worry, your website isn’t gone and this bug is quickly fixed.

Fortunately, it is very easy to exit maintenance mode. All you need is this guide and your FTP credentials.

Causes for the “infinite” WordPress maintenance mode

The maintenance notice “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” only remains if something went wrong during an update.

This may be due to the fact that one of the updates took too long and the server closed the connection. This happens often times, when cheap hosting is used and also if you carry out a lot of updates at once.

Another reason is that you accidentally (or intentionally) closed the window or tab where you started the updates. This can cause the updates to stop and therefore keep the maintenance mode up.

In rare cases, this situation can be caused by problems in the files of plugins, themes or even WordPress. However, this happens very rarely and never happened to me on one of my or my clients websites.

No matter what the cause is, if the maintenance mode isn’t turned off, you won’t be able to access your website. So let’s get to the part where I show you how to disable it!

🧐 The infinite maintenance mode can be caused by timeouts, closing the update tab, or corrupted files.

How to disable the maintenance mode

To snap WordPress out of the maintenance mode, you need to delete a file in the main directory of your installation. This file is a so-called “hidden” file. Therefore, you must first go to the settings of your ftp client and allow these hidden files to be displayed.

1. Access the server via FTP

First of all, you need FTP access to your server. Once you have logged in, navigate to the main directory of your WordPress installation. (This is the folder where the wp-content, wp-admin & wp-includes folders are located).

2. Show hidden files

You can recognize hidden files by the point in front of the file name.

Now you have to go to the settings of your FTP client and allow hidden files to be displayed. This setting can be found in different places, depending on the software you use.

In Filezilla

Versteckte Dateien in Filezilla anzeigen lassen.
In Filezilla, you can find the hidden file settings under “Server”.

In Filezilla you can find the setting in the menu bar under “Server”. There you can find the menu item “Force to show hidden files”, which you simply have to click on.

In Cyberduck

View hidden files in Cyberduck.
In Cyberduck, the setting is found under “View”

In Cyberduck, you can view the hidden files by clicking “View” in the menu and then “Show Hidden Files”.

Both Filezilla and Cyberduck will remember this setting. So you don’t have to re-do this setting every time you open the FTP client.

If you’re using another FTP software, just check the help or use Google to find the setting.

3. Delete the .maintenance file

You will now see a greyed out .maintenance file in your WordPress main directory.

The .maintenance file of the WordPress maintenance mode
Highlighted in red, you will see the .maintenance file. All you have to do is delete it now.

All you have to do is delete this file!

Make sure you don’t accidentally delete another file, that can happen faster than you think.

Then you can log back into WordPress and your website will work again as if nothing has happened.

So, have you ever had this terrifying moment? Leave a comment, tell us what happened and how you fixed it!

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