Solve Error: “WordPress stuck in maintenance mode”

This tutorial explains how to repair your WordPress site stuck in maintenance mode.

This error normally also prevents the administrator from accessing the dashboard. To follow the steps of this tutorial, you need FTP or hosting access to remove the file generating the error.

All instructions described in this article include screenshots for all users to understand easily.

The first section of this article describes the process using Cpanel, if you are using FTP, please jump straight to the second section by pressing this link. The last section of the tutorial explains why this error happens, what to do to decrease the risk of getting the error and how to get prepared with a custom user-friendly maintenance mode page.

Getting your WordPress site out of maintenance mode (Cpanel):

This section shows how to solve the error message: “WordPress stuck in maintenance mode.” using Cpanel. For FTP instructions, read here.

Using different hosting managers like Plesk or DirectAdmin, the instructions below are also useful, the user interface may vary, but the procedure is very similar.

If you are using Cpanel, login to your account and on the main screen, press the File Manager option shown in the following image.

In the File Manager, press the Settings button located on the top right corner, as shown in the screenshot below.

Ensure the Show Hidden Files (dotfiles) option is selected and press the Save button. This will show hidden files like the one you need to remove to restore access to your site.

Now find the .maintenance file, right-click it and press Delete.

When confirmation is requested, press Confirm.

Now your site must be out of maintenance mode.

Get your WordPress site out of maintenance mode (FTP):

If you use an FTP client, connect to your server and find the file named .maintenance. Right-click it and press the Delete button.

Note: The example below was done using the Filezilla FTP client.

When confirmation is requested, confirm the operation. 

Now your site and dashboard must be accessible.

Why the error “WordPress stuck in maintenance mode” happens:

The error appears when an update process goes wrong. This may happen because of different reasons. For example, if an update process was interrupted or there is an incompatibility between an update and your WordPress, theme or another plugin.

When you update WordPress components, WordPress adopts a maintenance mode which may last from seconds to a few minutes (Depending on the magnitude of the operation). Usually, it’s a very fast process.

You can’t be sure to avoid this error 100%, but you can consider interrupting updates or keeping a large amount of plugins will increase the danger.

Also, you can customize your maintenance screen for visitors to see a more friendly message. Keep reading the instructions below to learn how to customize the maintenance mode page.

Customizing the maintenance mode page in WordPress:

To customize your maintenance mode page, you need to install a plugin first.

On the WordPress dashboard left menu, move your mouse pointer over Plugins and press the Add New option.

In the plugins installation section, type “maintenance” in the keyword search box. When the Maintenance plugin shows up, press the Install Now button.

Enable the plugin by pressing the Activate button shown in the image below.

In the WordPress dashboard, find the Maintenance plugin and press it.

You can enable and disable the maintenance mode using this plugin by pressing the toggle button shown in the screenshot below.

If you want the maintenance mode off, the toggle button will be red.

As you can see, the first section of the plugin configuration screen allows you to edit the maintenance mode page footer, logo width and height. You can also upload the logo and implement image compression from this section.

The second section allows you to add a retina logo and background image. In my case, I’m leaving the default image the plugin brings.

Last section allows you to include an image for portrait device orientation. You also can include a preloader and define the background, font and login block background colors.

The last section of the configuration screen allows you to choose the font family, enabling a 503 error code. Here, you can link the plugin with your Google Analytics account, apply blur to the background, and define its intensity. Finally, you can enable frontend login. Press the Save Changes button after configuring the plugin.

That’s how you customize your maintenance mode in a few steps.

Plugin alternatives:

There are alternatives to the plugin used in this tutorial you can find when using the keyword search field in the plugins installation screen. Some of which are listed below:

  • Coming Soon Page, Maintenance Mode & Landing Pages by SeedProd
  • WP Maintenance Mode & Coming Soon
  • CMP – Coming Soon & Maintenance Plugin by NiteoThemes
  • WP Maintenance Mode
  • Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode by Colorlib
  • Under Construction, Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode
  • Site Offline Or Coming Soon Or Maintenance Mode
  • Rocket Maintenance Mode & Coming Soon Page

All the options listed above are very similar; they are simple as the one described in this article, which is fully free and one of the best rated by users.


The maintenance mode error is easy to solve by following a few steps explained previously. This task is so simple any WordPress administrator should be able to do with the instructions provided in this tutorial. Regarding the maintenance page customization, you can choose other plugin alternatives the market offers for the same purpose; you can try them too. Remember to keep a large amount of plugins isn’t recommended and may affect your site performance or health as explained above (Many plugins increase the risk of getting this error).

If you have disabled plugins you don’t use, remember to remove them fully; disabling them is not enough since they will keep updating.

Thank you for reading this tutorial explaining how to solve the error “WordPress stuck in maintenance mode”. Keep following us for more WordPress tips and solutions.

About the author

David Adams

David Adams is a System Admin and writer that is focused on open source technologies, security software, and computer systems.