How to Put WordPress in Maintenance Mode: Step-by-Step Guide

WordPress is a versatile and user-friendly platform for creating and managing websites.

Having a WordPress site is a boon in itself. This CMS offers a versatile and user-friendly website building platform for creating and managing sites built for a variety of business niches.

Whether you’re running a personal blog, an eCommerce site, or a corporate website, there will be a duration when you need to perform maintenance tasks.

These tasks can differ from updating plugins, redesigning themes, or making significant changes to your site’s functionalities. Enabling WordPress maintenance mode during this span is vital to ensure that your web visitors have an uninterrupted experience.

In this blog, we will go through a complete roadmap starting from understanding maintenance mode in-depth, and its importance and steps to enable WordPress maintenance mode with and without plugins.

What is Maintenance Mode in WordPress Site?

Maintenance mode in WordPress is a temporary state where your website is gradually taken offline or somewhat restricted from public access.

During this period, visitors are presented with a customized website maintenance page or message, rather than the regular content of your website.

This maintenance mode can be typically used for a specific set of reasons, such as updating WordPress core files, plugins, or a theme. While making these changes or addressing critical security issues enabling wp maintenance mode is vital.

When the required details don’t get to the audience, it might frustrate them. By displaying a well-crafted maintenance page or message, you can prevent such circumstances, communicate professionalism about maintenance activities, and minimize potential confusion.

Why to Setup Maintenance Mode in WordPress?

There are several practical reasons for enabling WP maintenance mode. Bear in mind, that maintenance mode is a practical feature in WordPress that helps website owners maintain the integrity, security, and user experience.

This feature also allows them to address their sites while they work behind the scenes to enhance and update their online presence. Thus, setting up maintenance mode is essential for the following reasons:

1. Smooth User Experience

When your site is undergoing changes or updates, visitors can be frustrated by broken pages or error messages. Maintenance mode ensures they see a polite message – explaining the situation, minimizing frustration and confusion.

2. Professionalism

Presenting a maintenance page communicates convenience and dedication to your audience. It shows that you overlook their experience and are actively working to improve it.

3. SEO Impact

By using maintenance mode, you can prevent the search engine from indexing incomplete or error-ridden pages, which can negatively affect your SEO rankings.

4. Security

Enabling website maintenance can also benefit in improving overall WordPress security, it lets enough time for plugins and fixes to update behind the scenes – preventing chances of malware attacks.

5. Modifying and Testing

Maintenance mode allows you to thoroughly test new features or changes without affecting your live WordPress website. This helps ensure that everything works as intended before going live.

6. Brand Building

Curiosity is the marketing! Using a coming soon page as downtime to promote your brand can help to do so. Considering this, you can give your audience what’s next and what new your business is bringing.

Now that we’ve established the importance of maintenance mode, let’s dive into the different types of WordPress maintenance mode.

Different Types of WordPress Maintenance Mode

These may sound new to you but, yes, types of maintenance mode in WordPress websites do exist. It depends on the practice you undertake to enable maintenance mode on site. Basically, there are three types of maintenance modes:

  1. WordPress Default Maintenance Mode
  2. WordPress Manual Maintenance Mode
  3. WordPress Plugin Based Maintenance Mode

Let’s understand each of them in a more detailed version:

WordPress Default Maintenance Mode

This is the maintenance mode that WordPress activates automatically. Whenever you update any WordPress aspect such as theme, plugin, or core files this mode gets enabled instantly.

While conducting such practices, in the WordPress admin dashboard, you must have seen a message displaying ‘Enabling Maintenance Mode‘ – that is the default WordPress maintenance mode.

WordPress also ensures web visitors get uninterrupted by displaying a message stating ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute‘. So that, the user doesn’t get confused or frustrated and also doesn’t lead to any sort of increased visitor bounce rate.

WordPress Manual Maintenance Mode

This involves manually creating a maintenance page or displaying a custom maintenance message on your website when the site is undergoing some editing or update.

It can be a custom HTML maintenance page that you upload to your server or a maintenance message you configure your server to display.

This method benefits with full control over the design and content of the maintenance page but also demands more technical expertise. If that doesn’t correspond to your proficiency, then you can also get help from dedicated WordPress developers.

WordPress Plugin Based Maintenance Mode

You have to check for the WordPress plugin specifically designed for maintenance mode. There are also several measures you should consider while choosing WordPress plugins such as its technical overview, active installations, and compatibility with the latest WordPress version.

These plugins offer a range of features, including countdown timers, email capture forms, scheduled maintenance, social media integration, and more. They provide a user-friendly way to create and manage maintenance mode pages and are suitable for users with various levels of technical expertise.

Thus, the choice of maintenance mode depends on your specific needs and technical proficiency. The default mode is suitable for automatic activation during updates, but it lacks customization options.

Manual maintenance mode provides full control but requires technical know-how, while plugin-based maintenance mode offers a user-friendly way to create and manage maintenance pages with a range of features and web editing possibilities.

Methods to Enable Maintenance Mode in WordPress Website

Here we’ll cover both; Enabling maintenance mode without a plugin and using a maintenance mode plugin. Based on the timeline and customization requirements you can pick any of them and achieve it by following the steps below:

Enabling Maintenance Mode Without a Plugin

Enabling maintenance mode without a plugin involves manual setup. It gives you complete control over the maintenance page’s design and content. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Create a Maintenance Page

  • Design an HTML maintenance page using your preferred IDE or code editor.
  • Include elements such as a message explaining the maintenance, estimated downtime, and contact information.
  • Save this HTML file with an easily recognizable name, e.g., ‘maintenance.html.’

Step 2: Upload the Maintenance Page

  • Connect to your web server using an FTP Client or a file manager provided by your hosting control panel.
  • Navigate to the root directory of your WordPress installation, usually ‘public_html‘ or a similar folder.
  • Moreover, being a bit familiar with WordPress files and directory structure can help you a lot in each step including this method.

Step 3: Edit the .htaccess File

  • If there isn’t already a `.htaccess` file in your WordPress root directory, you’ll need to create one.
  • Create and open the `.htaccess` file with a text editor and add the following code at the top:
     RewriteEngine On
     RewriteBase /
     RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !^Your_IP_Address$
     RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/maintenance.html$
     RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /maintenance.html [R=503,L]
  • Replace `Your_IP_Address` with your actual IP address. This code redirects all visitors except you to the maintenance page.

Step 4: Activate Maintenance Mode

  • To activate maintenance mode, upload the ‘maintenance.html’ page to your server.
  • When you’re ready to initiate maintenance, rename or move the ‘index.php‘ file in your WordPress root directory (e.g., change it to ‘index_old.php‘).
  • This step makes the server load the maintenance page instead of your WordPress site.

Step 5: Deactivate Maintenance Mode

  • Just like activating, deactivating maintenance mode is also important to bring your site back online.
  • You can restore the ‘index.php‘ file by renaming or moving it back to its original name.
  • Thus, this manual method provides complete control over your maintenance page but also requires technical expertise.
  • Woefully, even if you face the ‘WordPress stuck in maintenance mode’ issue then also nothing to worry about as it is one of the most common WordPress errors.
  • You can prevent this by simply clearing WordPress cache and ensuring the file permissions.

Enabling Maintenance Mode With the Maintenance Mode Plugin

In this WordPress tutorial, we’ll be considering the use of the SeedProd plugin –  a popular maintenance plugin that simplifies the process of setting up a maintenance page in WordPress. Here’s how to use it:

Step 1: Install and Activate the SeedProd Plugin

  • Go to your WordPress dashboard.
  • Navigate to ‘Plugins‘ and click on ‘Add New.’
  • Search for ‘SeedProd‘ and conduct the standard WordPress plugin installation process.
  • Once installed, click on the ‘Activate‘ button.

Step 2: Configure SeedProd Settings

  • After activation, go to ‘SeedProd‘ in your WordPress dashboard.
  • Choose the ‘Maintenance‘ mode.

Step 3: Customize Your Maintenance Page

  • SeedProd provides a user-friendly visual editor, which you can consider as a page builder in the maintenance page.
  • Once, you are navigated to this page – there you’ll need to see a stripe in which you can add your ’email address’ and unlock free WordPress maintenance templates.
  • If you want to create an entire page according to you then you can select the ‘Blank template‘ present at the very first of all templates.
  • Using any of them – you can add text, images, logos, countdown timers, and more.
  • It also offers to configure settings such as access control, SEO settings, and social media integration.

Step 4: Activate Maintenance Mode

  • Make sure, you’ve entered all the details required by web visitors, and also a support mail or social where they can drop any web/service related query.
  • Once you’re done and satisfied with your maintenance page’s design and settings, make sure you save changes.
  • Then, click the ‘Enable Maintenance Mode‘ button present on the top-right corner of the page editor.

Step 5: Deactivate Maintenance Mode

  • When you’re done with your maintenance tasks, return to the SeedProd settings and disable maintenance mode with a simple toggle switch.
  • Using the SeedProd plugin streamlines the process of creating and managing your maintenance page, making it accessible to users with varying levels of technical expertise.

Measure to Consider When Enabling WordPress Maintenance Mode

When enabling WordPress maintenance mode, there are several important measures to consider to ensure a smooth and successful deployment. Here’s a breakdown of the measures to consider when enabling maintenance mode:

1. Backup Your Website

  • Before making any changes or updates, create a complete backup of WordPress website
  • This will include both the website’s files and its database. 
  • Taking a backup ensures that you can restore your site to its previous state if anything goes wrong during maintenance.

2. Announce Maintenance Period

  • Inform your website visitors about the upcoming maintenance.
  • Clearly communicate the date, time, and expected duration of the maintenance. 
  • This announcement can be made through various channels such as social media, email newsletters, or a notice prominently displayed on the coming soon page.

3. Configure SEO Settings

  • WordPress SEO is something that should not be ignored even during maintenance mode. 
  • In your maintenance mode settings or plugin, configure the SEO settings to prevent search engines from indexing your maintenance page. 
  • This step helps maintain your search engine rankings by avoiding the indexing of incomplete or broken pages.

4. Limit Access to Admins

  • Restrict access to the WordPress admin dashboard during maintenance to prevent other users from making changes while updates are in progress.
  • This ensures that only authorized personnel can access and manage the site during maintenance.

5. Review Website Functionality

  • After taking your site out of maintenance mode, conduct a thorough review of your website’s functionality. 
  • Test all pages, links, forms, and features to ensure they are working correctly. 
  • Address any issues promptly to provide a seamless user experience.

6. Regular Maintenance Schedule

  • Consider implementing a regular maintenance schedule for your website. 
  • Regular, smaller updates and maintenance tasks are generally easier to manage and less disruptive than infrequent, large-scale updates. 
  • A well-defined schedule helps keep your site secure and up-to-date.

By following these measures, you can effectively enable WordPress maintenance mode while minimizing disruptions to your website visitors and ensuring the safety and functionality of your site.

FAQs About Putting WordPress Site in Maintenance Mode

Can I enable maintenance mode from WordPress hosting?
Of course, you can. Some of the best WordPress hosting providers offer built-in maintenance mode including tools and features that make it easier to manage both the backend and frontend user interface.WP Engine, WPMU Dev, and SiteGround are a few of the hosting providers that offer built-in maintenance mode.
Why does my WordPress site keep going into maintenance mode?
If your WordPress site keeps going into maintenance mode, it typically indicates that there's an issue during the WordPress update process or when making changes to your site. WordPress automatically enters maintenance mode during updates to ensure a smooth transition for your visitors.
How much maintenance does a WordPress site need?
As WordPress is a complete CMS platform in itself, there are numerous aspects such as core files, plugins/themes, security, and much more where the maintenance takes place. So, on estimation, there are 25-35 hours needed per month just for maintenance tasks. To get a seat back from this you can also sign up for WordPress website maintenance packages and let the experienced WordPress developers handle it all for you.


WordPress maintenance mode is a crucial feature that allows website owners to ensure a smooth and professional experience for their visitors during updates and changes.

Including this practice in your WordPress website can also help in showcasing professionalism, preserving SEO rankings, and contributing to brand building.

We also walked through the different types of WordPress maintenance modes, then the steps to enable maintenance mode without and with the maintenance mode plugin. The choice of mode depends on your specific needs and technical expertise.

Thus, by using any of them you can put the WordPress website in maintenance mode. Don’t forget to take the required measures that can help you with prevention and assurance of easy web restoration if any goes wrong.

Except for that, if you have any query related to maintenance mode or WordPress feel free to drop it to us – our experienced WordPress development team will surely soon get back to you.

Jigar Shah is the Founder of WPWeb Infotech - a leading Web Development Company in India, USA. Being the founder of the company, he takes care of business development activities and handles the execution of the projects. He is Enthusiastic about producing quality content on challenging technical subjects.

Leave a comment