Updated on Feb 28, 2020
WordPress maintenance mode is a WordPress core feature that’s enabled when you update the version of WordPress or while updating plugins and themes. The CMS displays a message across your website that lets visitors know you’re working on something. This way, you can perform updates without forcing them to use a semi-broken site.
This post is to explain how to manually get out of the unwanted WordPress maintenance mode in case your site gets stuck in it. You might be wondering what it is and why it’s happening.
We will cover:
Anytime you update your plugins and themes, WordPress maintenance mode would kick in, displaying a message that says your site is temporarily unavailable. The updates take only a few seconds and are too brief to be noticed. However, sometimes, the process would get interrupted. This hiccup could come from errors in server connection, or when a browser or a page was closed while the update was going on. Whatever the case is, the solutions for this issue are two.
Typically, this would be the main reason in case the maintenance mode is stuck. What you need to do is access your server via FTP software like FileZilla, or by using the File Manager in your cPanel (cPanel → File Manager).
cPanel is not the only existing control panel, but it’s probably the most popular one. If you are one of our clients, you already know that we are one of the hosting providers that use cPanel. To delete the
.maintenance file in cPanel, follow these steps:
.maintenancefile. Go to Settings and check the box Show Hidden Files (dotfiles):
public_html. Doing it would take you directly to the location of your
public_htmldirectory, you have to go back to cPanel, scroll down to the bottom, and then click Reset All Interface Settings;
An FTP Client is a file manager that you can use on your local device. By default, it comes with more features than the file managers that are available through hosts. FastComet recommends using FileZilla, as does WordPress. To delete the
.maintenance file with FileZilla, follow these steps:
Host – Enter your domain (e.g., example.com) Port – Leave it blank; Protocol – FTP (File Transfer Protocol); Encryption – Only use plain FTP; Login Type – Normal; User – FTP username from the host; Password – FTP password from the host;
wp-admin, you’re in the right place. If not, double click your
rootdirectory folder. This typically is
public_html, but ask your host if you’re not sure;
.maintenancefile, delete it, and then click the Refresh the File and Folder Lists button, and refresh your browser to check your site. Clear your cache and check again if you’re having issues.
To Rename the
.maintenance file via SSH:
cd public_htmlthis way you go into the root directory of the primary domain - if it is an addon, simply check this from the Addon Domain tab in the cPanel and replace public_html with the directory shown there. It is usually named after the domain itself - for instance: cd example.com
ls -lait lists all the files and folders with the current directory - this also lists hidden files (files that have a dot prefix before them) mv .maintenance .maintenance-disable - renames the maintenance file so that the message is no longer shown in the browser.
plugins/themes via SSH:
cd wp-contentonce inside the
public_html, or the root directory of the problematic domain, you go within the
wp-contentfolder, which holds WordPress’s most valuable assets such as plugins, themes, images, videos, etc.
mv plugins plugins-disablethis renames the directory that keeps the plugins, so they are no longer usable by WordPress, thus allowing you to access your website normally.
mv themes themes-disableit renames the themes directory so that they would no longer be usable by WordPress (this might also show a blank page, however, it will still allow us to access the administrative area of our website), thus allowing you to access your website normally.
Sometimes an error in a theme or plugin can cause the issue of unwanted maintenance mode. It’s easy to find out if that’s the case by renaming the themes and plugins folders. Once you rename the plugins folder, for example, all plugins on your site will get deactivated. Sometimes an error in a theme or plugin can cause that issue. Renaming the plugins or themes folder name can help find out the cause of the issue. To fix the problem, begin with:
wp-contentfolder and change the name of plugins to something else like
plugins-test. Once you did that, as mentioned, this will deactivate the plugins on your WordPress site;
wp-contentfolder. This time, you have to rename the themes folder (e.g.,
Here are both the theme and plugin solutions:
wp-contentand rename back the
plugins-testfolder to its original
plugins. After you do that, go to your site’s WordPress Admin → Plugins → activate the plugins one by one and test after each activation to see which one is causing the problem. Once you locate the problematic plugin, find it with your FTP account and delete its folder. Then you should try reinstalling the plugin’s latest version and if the problem persists after you do that, contact the plugin’s developer (there might be a bug).
wp-content. Rename back the
themes-testto its former
themes, and then simply delete the folder of the currently active theme. Reinstall the theme with its latest version, just as you did with the plugin, and if your site doesn’t load after you do that - contact the theme developer to give your feedback. Refresh the website to see if it loads. In case it is loading, the currently active theme causes the issue.
The unwanted maintenance mode issue could happen periodically, and as you can see, the fix is relatively simple. However, you should consider it in the future and make your life easier with some preventive measures.
If you would rather sidestep the future mishaps, we recommend you to always double-check if your chosen themes and plugins are compatible with the current WordPress version that you are using. WordPress' maintenance mode issue may happen from time to time, and the fix is relatively easy.
You cannot be too careful when it comes to updates. Therefore, it’s a good idea to update your plugins one by one, and if possible, check your live website after you update each one of them. This way, you will escape the hassle of checking which one is the reason for issues. Rather than solving already existing problems, it’s much better simply to avoid them.
As always, if you couldn’t fix the issue on your own, or in case you did not have the time, feel free to open a support ticket. Explain your issue and what you have tried so far. Our team of technical support experts works 24/7 and will gladly investigate further for you to make sure the issue is resolved as quickly as possible.
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