How to fix WordPress if it’s stuck in Maintenance Mode.

WordPress has its ups and downs.

If your site is stuck in the classic WordPress Maintenance mode, it may feel like it, but not all hope is lost.

To get around it, it’s important to understand why it happens in the first place.

Without this knowledge, you could very easily lose your temper with everything around you.

So let’s get the basics down first, and then move on to the how-to’s.

Understanding WordPress Maintenance Mode

Maintenance mode is a feature in WordPress that allows you to put your site under maintenance while updating or making changes.

It’s also useful when you want to change your site’s core files, themes, or plugins.

When you enable this, visitors will see a “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” message.

While maintenance mode is essential for smooth updates, sometimes it can get stuck, leaving you with a totally inaccessible website.

The situation can make you want to throw your computer at a wall, but there are several ways to fix it.

Reasons Behind Stuck Maintenance Mode

Before diving into the solutions, it’s important to understand why it can get stuck in the first place.

Here are a few common reasons:

1. Failed Update

If a WordPress update (core, theme or plugin) fails to complete correctly, it can leave your website stuck.

2. File Permission Issues

Incorrect file permissions or ownership settings on your server can lead to maintenance mode problems.

3. Corrupted .maintenance File

The .maintenance file in your website’s root directory is responsible for enabling and disabling the mode.

If this file becomes corrupted, it can cause issues.

Now that we know why maintenance mode can get stuck, let’s move on to fixing it.

How to Fix WordPress Stuck in Maintenance Mode

Method 1: Manually Delete the .maintenace File

1. Access your Website Files:

You can do this using an FTP client or through your hosting provider’s file manager.

2. Find the .maintenance File:

It’s usually in the root directory of your WordPress installation.

3. Delete the File:

Right-click on the .maintenance file and select ‘Delete’ or simply press the ‘Delete’ key.

4. Check Your Website:

After deleting the file, try accessing your site again: it should no longer be stuck.

Method 2: Clear Your Browser Cache

Sometimes, your browser may have changed the maintenance mode page even after it’s been resolved.

To manually clear your cache:

  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+Delete (Windows) or Command+Shift+Delete (Mac) to open the clear browsing data window in your browser.
  2. Select ‘Cached images and files’ and any other data you want to clear.
  3. Click ‘Clear Data’ or the equivalent button in your browser.
  4. Reload your website and try accessing it again, it should now display correctly.

Method 3: Check for Failed Updates

If a failed update caused the issue, follow the steps below:

  1. Log into your WordPress admin dashboard.
  2. Go to the ‘Updates’ section (usually under Dashboard > Updates)
  3. If any updates are listed, apply them by clicking ‘Update Now’.
  4. After updating, check your site to make sure it’s no longer in maintenance mode.

Method 4: Check File Permissions

Incorrect file permissions can also lead to maintenance mode problems.

You can correct this by using an FTP client or a file manager provided by your hosting provider:

  1. Access your website files.
  2. Locate the WordPress root directory (usually named ‘public_html’).
  3. Right-click on the directory and select ‘File Permissions’ or ‘Change Permissions’.
  4. Set the permissions for directories to 755 and for files 644, you can usually do this by entering the values into the appropriate boxes.
  5. Apply these changes and check the site.


Getting stuck like this can be infuriating, but with the right help, you’ll pull through.

Whether it’s corrupted files, failed updates or incorrect file permissions, the solutions above should help you overcome the issue.

If they’re no help at all, and you’re even more confused, reach out to our WordPress support team at Toast, and we can get your site back to its’ regular self.

Lilli Foreman

Lilli Foreman

Lilli works on copy, content, site build and layout at Toast. She helps clients with optimised blogs, on-page SEO and general site work.