Sometimes you may try to update one of your themes and plugins or your WordPress auto-update process starts itself and then fails for an unknown reason. A common message on all of your pages is displayed, leaving your WordPress stuck in maintenance mode.
WordPress briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.
The good thing is that WordPress has an automatic way of self-repair from being stuck in maintenance mode and your website should be working properly again after 10 minutes. However, there is an easy way to fix the maintenance mode problem immediately.
- Go to your WordPress root installation folder
- Find the file called .maintenance (make sure to enable hidden files too)
- Simply delete it
What if disabling WordPress maintenance mode doesn’t work?
An additional step may be required and that is to find another file called wp-activate.php, find WP_INSTALLING parameter and change it from true to false. Take a look at the code below:
define( 'WP_INSTALLING', false );
This should do the trick and your WordPress website should be working again!
Why does this maintenance mode issue happen at all?
Whenever an update is run, WordPress puts itself in a temporary maintenance mode state. The message you see (WordPress briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance) is a generated notification for you and your visitors to go back shortly after the update is finished.
This is the normal behavior and the message will usually be visible for a couple of seconds only, disappearing entirely after you refresh the page and continue browsing through your website. But sometimes, your server may be temporarily interrupted and overloaded which prevents the WordPress update process to finish entirely, leaving you stuck in the maintenance mode.
Bonus: Quick video guide for deleting WordPress maintenance file
If you are new to WordPress and not too familiar with its file system, here is a quick video guide which will probably help you the most. Enjoy!