WordPress maintenance mode is an extremely helpful tool. However, it’s useless if you ultimately do not know how to control it and cannot perform simple functions such as switching it off. To fully understand how to control its functions, let’s first discuss what maintenance mode is.
What is maintenance mode?
Maintenance mode is a user-friendly way to tell website visitors your website is undergoing some updates. If you’re familiar with WordPress updates, things may not always go smoothly when performing updates. Multiple issues can happen such as:
- Your WordPress theme causes your website to display your content in a weird way because the theme is incompatible with a plugin or WordPress core
- A plugin stops functioning properly and affects other components of your website
- An update causes the white screen of death and none of the pages are accessible
Odd things like that can scare users from visiting your website – especially if it’s an e-commerce site. Users may think your website has been hacked and their information could be at risk. A good way to prevent your website from frightening your visitors is to activate maintenance mode when you’re performing maintenance tasks. Utilizing the WordPress maintenance mode feature can ultimately preserve a positive image of your online business and maintain trust with your visitors.
The default WordPress maintenance mode is a simple white screen with the sentence, “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” It’s a simple design and message that communicates to your website visitors. This default screen appears automatically when you are updating a theme or plugin on your WordPress website. The maintenance mode would remove itself once the update is completed.
Default WordPress maintenance screen
If you would like to activate maintenance mode manually, you can do so by editing your functions.php file or the .htaccess file. It’s very important that you remember to remove your code once the maintenance is complete! If you are a new WordPress user, it’s highly recommended you not use that method because you can easily break your WordPress site’s functions and cause even bigger and longer-lasting issues. If you would like to have more manual control and design flexibility, it’s best to use a plugin.
So how do I turn off WordPress maintenance mode? – Suggested Maintenance Mode Plug-ins
Plugins can be used to add additional functionality to your website – including accessing more control of your maintenance mode. These functionality features include layout and design, user experience, manually turning it on/off, and SEO tools.
Elementor Page Builder (5 million plus active installs | 4.5/5 star rating ) –
Elementor is an extremely popular website builder that offers a very simple drag-and-drop interface. It works similarly to Gutenberg and offers a large number of widgets for your page builds. In addition, Elementor allows you to create custom maintenance page designs.
Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd (1 million plus active installs | 5-star rating) – This plugin offers fully responsive and customizable features. This plugin also offers SEO tools. Title and meta tags can be set while your website is in maintenance mode. If you completely remove access from site crawlers, you can set your website to become unavailable to them.
WP Maintenance Mode & Coming Soon (900,000 plus active installs | 4.5-star rating) – This is a flexible plugin that allows you to have full control of both looks and functionality of your maintenance page. It has multiple widgets such as a countdown timer, and a newsletter subscription box, responsive, and compatible with WordPress multisite.
Utilizing Staging Websites – An alternative way to turn off WordPress maintenance mode
Depending on your hosting provider and plan, you could use a staging website. A staging website is essentially a copy of your live website where you can safely perform maintenance updates and other testing methods without affecting the looks and functionality of your live website. Many web hosting companies such as Siteground and WP Engine offer staging websites with all of their WordPress hosting plans. With a staging website, your live website won’t have to go down at all while you perform maintenance tasks (updating plugins, WordPress themes, testing new code, etc.). A staging website is not public and easily accessible to users. Once you’re done, you can push the staging site to the live website seamlessly. A staging website is also great for testing out design layouts and user experience before you make it public.
Creating a website is not a one-and-done project. To keep it up to date and functioning, you will need to perform routine maintenance. Ensure you have the proper tools needed to protect and maintain your website. Unsure of how to maintain your website? Unsure about how to use WordPress tools You can always schedule a one-on-one tutoring session with us. Don’t have time to schedule a session? No problem, we also offer many other helpful blog articles and tools to assist you in learning how to fully utilize and protect your WordPress website.
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