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Scary Moments: Stuck in WordPress Maintenance Mode

It happened to me just the other day. I was updating a plugin and something went wrong. My website was stuck in WordPress maintenance mode.

What is WordPress Maintenance Mode?

Whenever you update a plugin or theme in the admin dashboard of your WordPress site, any visitors to your website will temporarily see a notice that your website is Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance and be told to Check back in a minute. Normally, the maintenance notification is just visible for a few seconds while the plugin is being updated.

maintenance mode

Being in maintenance mode temporarily during an update is normal. When you click that update button, the WordPress core functionality writes a file called .maintenance to the WordPress directory of your website that causes the maintenance mode message to be displayed. As soon as the update is complete, WordPress deletes the file from the directory.

FTP Access


But what happens when something goes wrong? Sometimes there is an interruption or glitch or sometimes there is a conflict between the update and an existing plugin or some custom code and the next thing you know, you are stuck, and neither you or your visitors are able to access your website. Scary moment! Now what?

How to Fix “Stuck in WordPress Maintenance Mode”

Resolving your “Stuck in WordPress Maintenance Mode” nightmare is actually pretty simple. You require FTP or sFTP access to your website using a tool like Filezilla.

  1. Open your FTP or sFTP tool and login using the credentials that your web host gave you.
  2. Navigate to the root of your WordPress folder where the core folders such as wp-admin, wp-content and wp-includes are located.
  3. Find the file named .maintenance and delete it.

That’s it. Scary moment resolved. Both you and your visitors are able to access your website again.

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