How to fix WordPress stuck in maintenance mode

WordPress’s maintenance mode can be a blessing and a curse. It facilitates seamless updates by blocking access and displaying a message, but sometimes a failed update leaves a site stuck in maintenance indefinitely. If you find your WordPress site trapped behind a maintenance message, don’t panic. This guide will walk you through quickly regaining control and restoring normal access.

Understanding Maintenance Mode

Briefly, maintenance mode in WordPress displays a customisable maintenance message and blocks access to your site. This allows WordPress to safely perform updates, installations and other background work without interruption.

Usually, WordPress automatically deactivates maintenance mode once the work is complete. However, an error can prevent this, leaving the underlying .maintenance file in place and your site inaccessible.

Step-by-Step Guide to Fix It

Follow these steps to resolve a WordPress site stuck in maintenance mode:

  1. Access Website Files: Use your hosting control panel or FTP client to access your WordPress files. You’ll need your FTP credentials from your web host.
  2. Locate .maintenance File: In your WordPress installation’s root directory, look for a file called .maintenance. This is the culprit.
  3. Delete .maintenance File: Delete this file to indicate that maintenance mode is no longer in effect.
  4. Clear Browser Cache: Clear your cache and cookies to load the updated version of your site.
  5. Test Website: Visit your site, which should now load normally without the maintenance message.

Avoid Future Headaches

While the fix is straightforward, prevention is ideal:

  • Use a stable internet connection for updates to avoid interruptions.
  • If an update stalls, wait before trying again to allow resources to reset.
  • Consider scheduling updates during periods of low traffic.

Take Control of Maintenance Mode

Finding your WordPress site trapped in maintenance mode can be alarming, but you can quickly regain control. Follow the steps above to remove the problematic .maintenance file and restore normal access. Remember to be cautious when performing updates to avoid future issues. With this guide, you’ll be prepared to troubleshoot maintenance mode problems and keep your site running smoothly.

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