Sometimes in the process of updating WordPress plugins or themes, your site may become stuck in “Maintenance mode,” displaying an error on your website. In this article we will explain how to fix a website stuck in maintenance mode.
About WordPress Maintenance Mode
By default, when WordPress updates WordPress core files, plugins, and themes, it adds a .maintenance file to the document root of your website. While these updates usually take just a few seconds, if the update isn’t successful or WordPress is otherwise unable to remove the file, your website may be left with a message that reads:
Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.
Fixing a Website Stuck in Maintenance Mode
If your website is stuck in maintenance mode, it means the .maintenance file was left behind after updates were performed. To fix the issue, you can simply remove the .maintenance file. The easiest way to do this is via SFTP.
Removing the .maintenance file with SFTP
First, ensure you have installed an SFTP client, and added an SFTP username and password using the steps in our SFTP guide. Then, connect to your website via SFTP with your SFTP client and credentials.
In the document root of your website, there will be a file named .maintenance. Right-click the .maintenance file in the list, and select to delete or remove it.
Your SFTP client may then prompt you to confirm the change–be sure to select Yes to ensure the change is applied to your website.
After applying the change, your website will no longer show the maintenance page! If at first you don’t see the change reflected, try opening an incognito browser window or clearing your browser cache.
If you are seeing this maintenance message and the .maintenance file either isn’t present, or you are unable to remove the file, please do not hesitate to contact WP Engine Support. You can open a chat with WP Engine Support (available 24/7) in your User Portal. Please describe the error message, the time the issue started, and any steps or changes that took place just before the issue occurred. We are glad to help anytime!