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How to Fix WordPress Stuck in Maintenance Mode

Understanding "WordPress Stuck in Maintenance Mode"

When WordPress is updated, it temporarily goes into maintenance mode. This is a protective measure to ensure that the update process runs smoothly without interference. However, sometimes WordPress gets "stuck" in this mode, preventing access to your site.

Common Causes of Maintenance Mode Issue

Incomplete Update

One of the most common reasons for WordPress getting stuck in maintenance mode is an incomplete update. This can happen due to a network interruption or server timeout.

Server Timeout

When the server times out during an update, it can leave the site stuck in maintenance mode. Increasing server resources can help mitigate this issue.

Insufficient Resources

Limited server resources can cause the update to fail, resulting in your site being stuck in maintenance mode.

Plugin or Theme Conflicts

Sometimes, a plugin or theme conflict can cause the update process to fail, leaving your site in maintenance mode.


  • Your site displays a message like "Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute."
  • You can't access your site's front-end or admin area.

How to Fix WordPress Stuck in Maintenance Mode

1. Remove the .maintenance File

The easiest way to resolve this issue is to remove the .maintenance file from your site's root directory. Here’s how:

  1. Access your site via FTP: You can use an FTP client like FileZilla to connect to your website.
  2. Navigate to the root directory: This is usually the main folder where WordPress is installed.
  3. Delete the .maintenance file: Once you delete this file, your site should come out of maintenance mode.

Protip: Always backup your website before performing updates. This ensures you can easily restore your site if something goes wrong.

2. Increase PHP Memory Limit

If your site frequently gets stuck in maintenance mode, you may need to increase the PHP memory limit. This can be done by editing the wp-config.php file and adding the following line:

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');

This increase in memory can help your server handle updates more effectively.

3. Check for Incomplete Updates

After removing the .maintenance file, check your WordPress dashboard for incomplete updates. Navigate to Dashboard > Updates and manually complete any pending updates.

4. Disable Conflicting Plugins or Themes

If the problem persists, there might be a plugin or theme causing the issue. You can troubleshoot by:

  1. Renaming Plugin/Theme Folders: Using FTP, navigate to wp-content/plugins or wp-content/themes and rename the folders to disable them.
  2. Reactivating one by one: Reactivate each plugin or theme individually to identify the source of the conflict.

Summary Table

Incomplete UpdateRemove .maintenance file
Server TimeoutIncrease PHP memory limit
Plugin/Theme ConflictsDisable and troubleshoot plugins/themes

This table summarizes common issues and their solutions for WordPress maintenance mode problems.


In conclusion, getting stuck in maintenance mode can be a hassle, but with the right steps, it’s easily fixable. Always ensure your updates are complete and check for plugin or theme conflicts. If you frequently face this issue, consider increasing your server resources.

Remember: Maintaining your WordPress site is crucial for its performance and security. Regular updates and proactive troubleshooting can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

Additional Tips

  • Regular Backups: Keep regular backups of your site. This way, you can restore your site if something goes wrong during an update.
  • Use Reliable Plugins and Themes: Ensure the plugins and themes you use are regularly updated and well-supported.
  • Monitor Server Performance: Keep an eye on your server’s performance and increase resources as needed to handle larger updates.

Protip: Use a reliable FTP client to avoid connection issues. FileZilla is a popular choice due to its stability and user-friendly interface.

"Maintenance mode is a safeguard, but sometimes things go awry. Knowing how to fix it quickly is essential for any WordPress admin."

By following these steps, you can effectively manage and resolve maintenance mode issues, keeping your WordPress site running smoothly and efficiently.

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