Updating WordPress themes and plugins usually works like a charm.  However, I recently had an interesting experience.  I was updating one plugin and my site became frozen in maintenance mode. I couldn’t make any changes to the site with the control panel.  My site was down for the count!

Stuck in Maintenance Mode

Here’s what to do if you have the same problem and your WordPress installation is stuck at “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.”

What Causes a Website to be Stuck in Maintenance Mode?

A number of things can cause this problem including:

  • Updating a too many items at once
  • Attempting to update a theme or plugin that’s incompatible with your version of WordPress
  • Slow website server
  • Low memory issues

How to Bring a Stuck Site out of Maintenance Mode

When a WordPress site is updating it makes a file called .maintenance in the root folder. When the system has done its magic and the site is updated, the .maintenance file is deleted.  However, sometime this last step doesn’t happen.  To free your site from perpetual maintenance mode, just delete the .maintenance file via a FTP program or cPanel.

Don’t feel comfortable deleting files?  Your website host should be able to help you or feel free to contact me.

By the way, once I got my site out of maintenance mode the plugin still needed to be updated. I tried it again and there were no problems.  Go figure.

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