Is WordPress stuck in maintenance mode after an update?
When you automatically update a component such as a plugin, or update the WordPress version on your website, WordPress places a file in your website root folder called .maintenance. This file should stay there while the update is taking place, and WordPress should remove the file for you when the update is complete.
As updates should take no more than a minute the file should not be there for long, and hence your site should be back online very quickly.
The purpose of the file is so that the following message can be displayed to anyone who tries to visit your site while the updates are taking place…
Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.
This wp maintenance mode message prevents anyone from seeing your site whilst these updates are mid-flight – which might mean they see a broken site.
However, sometimes WordPress fails to remove this file when it has finished updating your site, which means that although the site may well be ok nobody can access it. This is why you should ALWAYS check that your website is working ok when you have updated WordPress, a theme, or a plugin. Otherwise, you may not find out until your site has been down for quite a long time.
How do I remove the .maintenance file in WordPress?
You’ll need FTP access to your WordPress site (or file manager access via your hosting control panel) in order to remove the .maintenance file. Once you have logged in to your site FTP, just look for the file named .maintenance in your WordPress root folder (this may well be the highest level folder you see when you log in or it will be in a sub-folder or sub-directory if you have not installed WordPress in your root folder.
Once you have found the file, just delete it and your site should be available again.
Bear in mind that there might be an underlying problem with your site that has caused the file to be left there, but if you backed up your site files and database BEFORE upgrading (you did didn’t you?) then you should be able to get back to your old version easily.
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You’ll need to ping us your ftp or hosting control panel details using the contact form on this page (or call us with the details if you prefer).
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Preventing a failed WordPress upgrade
Make sure the plugins you use are ready for the latest version of WordPress. Generally, your dashboard plugins list should be telling you if any plugins need to be updated. There might still be some plugins that you’re using which haven’t yet been updated. If you’re not sure, it would be a good idea to deactivate all of your plugins before going ahead with the WordPress automatic update. Then, once the update is complete you can try activating each plugin in turn, checking the results on your website.
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