How to Fix WordPress Stuck in Maintenance Mode in Three Steps

Every so often, your WordPress site might get stuck in maintenance mode. While this is pretty normal, it can have a negative impact on your site. Therefore, you might be wondering how to resolve this issue.

The good news is that fixing WordPress stuck in maintenance mode is pretty simple. You can manually reverse this state by accessing your site files and making a small adjustment.

Why does WordPress get stuck in maintenance mode?

First, let’s take a look at what you might see if your WordPress site gets stuck in maintenance mode. If you try to access your site while you’re running plugin updates, you’ll likely get the following message:

WordPress stuck in maintenance mode screen

Typically, this message is only visible for a few seconds. Once all updates are complete, you should be able to access your site again.

However, your site might sometimes get stuck in maintenance mode, even after all updates have been completed. There are several things that can trigger this error, including software incompatibilities.

For instance, if you update your WordPress core, your site could go into maintenance mode if the new version of the CMS is incompatible with your current theme.

The “WordPress stuck in maintenance mode” error can also happen if important updates are interrupted before completion. For example, you might lose internet connection or accidentally close the page while updating your theme and plugins.

Maintenance mode can protect your site during essential updates. It prevents users from interfering with your content while you’re updating it.

💡 However, if your WordPress site gets stuck in maintenance mode, it could damage the user experience (UX) and you could end up losing visitors.

How to fix WordPress stuck in maintenance mode

Now that you know what causes WordPress to get stuck in maintenance mode, we’re going to show you how to fix it in three simple steps!

For this tutorial, we’ll be using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client. However, you can also use the file manager in your hosting account if your host offers a tool like cPanel.

Step 1: Back up your website

Fixing the “WordPress stuck in maintenance mode” issue requires you to modify your site’s files. Fortunately, the process is pretty straightforward. However, accessing your site’s files can seem a little tricky at first.

Therefore, the first and most important step is to back up your website. This will let you restore your WordPress site if you accidentally damage or break anything on the back end during the process.

One of the easiest ways to create a backup of your site is by using a free plugin like UpdraftPlus:

Installing the UpdraftPlus backup plugin

After you’ve installed and activated UpdraftPlus, you’ll be automatically directed to your plugin page. Here, you’ll need to click on the Press here to start! button:

Getting started with UpdraftPlus

Alternatively, you can access the same page by going to Settings > Updraft Plus Backups. This will take you to the Backup / Restore tab of your plugin’s settings.

Go ahead and click on Backup Now:

Creating backup with UpdraftPlus

Then, you’ll see the following pop-up, where you can customize your backup. After you’ve made your selections, hit Backup Now again:

Finalizing a WordPress backup

This could take a few moments. When the process is complete, you’ll see another pop-up message confirming that the backup is ready.

It’s as simple as that! If you want to customize your backup, you can navigate to the settings tab to make these changes.

Step 2: Connect your site to an FTP client

Once you’ve created a backup of your website, you’re ready to connect to an FTP client. This is a tool that enables you to access and modify your WordPress site files safely.

For this step, we’ll be using FileZilla as it’s a popular and reliable tool. Plus, it’s free!

To get started, simply navigate to the FileZilla website and download the right version for your operating system.

After the download is complete, you’ll need to launch the program and connect to your site. To do this, you’ll have to fill in some basic information. This includes your host, username, password, and port:

Connecting your site to FileZilla

You should be able to find this information in your hosting account, under “FTP details” or something similar. Once your site is connected to the FTP client, you can move on to the next step.

Step 3: Delete the .maintenance file

In order to resolve WordPress stuck in maintenance mode, you’ll need to delete your .maintenance file. This file is automatically generated when your site is running updates. Once the process is complete, WordPress will autodelete the file.

As such, if you eliminate the file, it takes your site out of maintenance mode.

You can locate the .maintenance file in your root directory, which you can now access via FileZilla.

This directory should be called public or public_html and you’ll find it in your right-hand panel:

The WordPress root folder in FileZilla

However, sometimes, certain files will automatically be hidden, especially those beginning with a period.

So, if you can’t find the .maintenance file in your root folder, go to Server and select Force showing hidden files:

Force showing hidden files in FileZilla

Then, locate the .maintenance file and right-click on it:

Delete the .maintenance file in FileZilla

Now, select Delete. That’s it!

You should now be able to access your WordPress site without any trouble.

How to reduce the chances of WordPress getting stuck in maintenance mode

Now that you know how to fix WordPress stuck in maintenance mode, you may be wondering how to prevent this issue from happening again in the future. The trick is to learn how to manage your WordPress tools effectively.

If you don’t have any performance monitoring in place, it might not be a good idea to configure automatic updates on your site. If there’s a problem during these updates, it might go unnoticed for hours – or even days.

Additionally, you’ll want to avoid updating multiple plugins at the same time. This could overwhelm your site, leading to a maintenance mode error.

WordPress enabling maintenance mode

Furthermore, it’s best to limit the number of WordPress plugins you use. Having too many tools on your site could lead to slow loading times and increase the risk of maintenance errors caused by incompatibilities.

Also, you’ll want to make sure that your theme supports the new version of WordPress before you update. Similarly, it’s a good idea to double-check that any new plugin you install is compatible with the latest WordPress release.

Lastly, if you notice that your website is often stuck in maintenance mode and you’re not sure why, it may be related to your web host. Therefore, you might want to reach out to your provider’s support team and inquire about the issue. If they can’t help you, it might be time to upgrade to a more powerful host!

Conclusion 🤓

Every website will need essential updates and modifications from time to time. This may require brief downtime. However, if your WordPress site gets stuck in maintenance mode, you could lose out on potential conversions.

Luckily, resolving this issue is pretty straightforward.

👉 Here’s how you can fix the “WordPress stuck in maintenance mode” error:

  1. Back up your website with a plugin like Updraft Plus. 🪂
  2. Connect your site to an FTP client like FileZilla. 🔗
  3. Delete the .maintenance file. 📤

Do you have any questions about WordPress being stuck in maintenance mode? Let us know in the comments section below!

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