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Deactivate & activate WordPress maintenance mode: How to do it

You finally want to put your creative ideas into practice and give your website a redesign? Or build a completely new website? And preferably in such a way that your visitors can't see this creative chaos? With the help of the WordPress maintenance mode, you can create a professional maintenance site with just a few clicks. We'll show you two quick and easy ways to disable or enable WordPress maintenance mode.

When do I use the maintenance mode?

As a rule, you can make changes to your website without having to activate maintenance mode. For standard changes, such as adjusting text, replacing images or writing new blog articles, you can definitely leave your website online as usual.

As a creative mind or entrepreneur, you always have ideas or visions that you want to implement on your website - and should. No matter whether you want to redesign, add sections or rearrange the elements. And it is precisely for such larger projects, which create a virtual construction site on your website, that the WordPress maintenance mode is suitable.

With the WordPress maintenance mode, you prevent visitors to your website from seeing an error message or the so-called "white screen of death". You've probably seen a blank page like this before - a classic error message is often. "HTTP Error 503. The service is unavailable." This error message or the blank page on WordPress not only looks unprofessional, but is also unattractive.

When visitors to a website discover such an error message, many questions usually arise. Is the website offline forever? What will happen to my customer account with the website? Can I purchase the products from other sites? Etc. You can use the WordPress maintenance mode to inform your visitors about current maintenance work on your website. This way, your visitors know that they can visit your website as usual at a later date and are not left in the dark.

So while you are working on your website in the background or updates are being carried out, the upstream page informs your visitors about the "Temporary construction site on your website". You can also use this interface directly to get your visitors excited about new products or services, for example. We will explain how you can integrate this teaser here later.

Conclusion: With the WordPress maintenance mode, you give your visitors a short update that prevents confusion and confusion. You can provide your customers with the reason for the maintenance work, the duration, alternative contact details and a date when everything will be available again as usual on the maintenance page. This creates trust among your visitors and increases the user-friendliness of your site.

How do I activate the WordPress maintenance mode?

It's simple! There are several ways to activate WordPress maintenance mode. We'll show you two simple methods that allow you to instantly activate and deactivate maintenance mode at any time. First, we will explain how you can design and activate/deactivate the WordPress maintenance mode via a plug. After that, there are two ways how you can also activate the maintenance mode via a code. Don't worry - even if you're not a techie, you'll be able to do it via code with our instructions ?

WordPress Maintenance Mode Plugin: WP Maintenance Mode

Install and activate plugin

After logging into your WordPress account, search for the plugin WP Maintenance Mode in the right-hand search field under "Plugins" - "Install". Then click on "Install now". To get started, you still have to activate the newly installed plugin under "Installed plugins".

Activate WordPress maintenance mode via plugin

After successful activation, you will now find the item "WP Maintenance Mode" under your settings. As soon as you click on "Activated", your site is in WordPress maintenance mode. The plugin offers you a few more practical functions that make your life easier.

By default, your feed and login pages are excluded from maintenance mode - you should definitely keep it that way. Maybe you are only working on one subpage at the moment? Then exclude all other pages from maintenance mode so that they are still accessible for visitors. In addition, the plugin notifies you of the activated maintenance mode on your dashboard - this way it will not be forgotten even in stressful times 🙂

Create an individual design of the WordPress maintenance mode

In the top menu of the plugin, you can edit the appearance of your WordPress maintenance mode page under "Design". For example, you can replace the boring standard text with a few kind words or information about the current status. We have put together a few ideas for your text in the last chapter.

In addition to the text, you can also customise your background. You can either design the background in a colour, use predefined background images or even upload your own background image.

Thanks to the integrated "countdown" under Modules, you can inform your visitors when your website will be available again. To do this, you only have to activate the countdown, specify its start date and determine the time in which your website will be in maintenance mode. You can also adapt the font colour of the counter individually to the background or your CD.

Deactivate counter for WordPress maintenance mode

If you activate "Show contact details", you do not even have to enter them separately in the text. Unfortunately, only the email address can currently be entered here. It would be nicer for your visitors to see a direct contact person with name, email address and telephone number. You can choose between the effects "Move up - Move down", "Zoom - Zoom in" and "Collapse - Collapse out".

You also have the option of linking some social networks, such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. The plugin automatically stores the appropriate icon for the respective network and inserts it with a link on the maintenance mode page. You can also store and activate your Google Analytics in the plugin with the help of your tracking code.

Link data protection

Even if your site is currently in maintenance mode, your website must be data protection compliant. You can configure your privacy policy quickly and easily via the DSGVO subitem. You should definitely pay attention to this point when you put your website into maintenance mode so that you do not receive any warnings.

Simply use chatbot in maintenance mode

My personal highlight feature of the WP Maintenance Mode plugin is its own chatbot. Why is the chatbot my favourite tool? The chatbot is not only very easy to integrate into your site, but also has a lot of advantages. Just to give you an idea of five important advantages of a chatbot:

  • Increase visitor interaction
  • Playfully obtaining customer data, such as mail addresses
  • 24/7 availability
  • Fast help and communication for the customer (increased user-friendliness)
  • Personal voice of your website

You can not only give your bot a name, but also give it a face. Either you decide on a fictitious name or picture or you decide on a real person from your company.

Use WordPress maintenance mode and chatbot

All of the bot's messages and response options for the customer can be individually adapted to the goal of your conversation with the customer and your typical wording. But even the standard text is really nice to start with. Here, too, the collected email addresses are automatically stored in the plugin so that you can export them as a CSV afterwards.

How to deactivate the WordPress maintenance mode

As soon as you have finished updating your website, you should deactivate the maintenance mode. Normally, you can deactivate the maintenance mode again with just a few clicks.

As in the first step, go to "WP Maintenance Mode" under Settings. Now you can easily change the status of your WordPress maintenance mode from "Activated" to "Inactive". Don't forget to save! Now your visitors can visit all your content again as usual.

In very rare cases, the WordPress maintenance mode remains even though you have set it to inactive. But even for these challenges, we have a solution that allows you to deactivate the maintenance mode.

  1. Step: Log into the hosting backend
    Log into your hosting provider's hosting backend. Here you will find your WordPress installation including the file manager.
  2. Step: Delete the .maintenance file
    The so-called .maintenance file runs the maintenance mode of your WordPress instance. You have to delete this file in the root directory in order to deactivate the maintenance mode. The tricky thing here is that it is a hidden file. Depending on the provider, you can display hidden files in different ways. Once you have found the file, right-click on it and delete it. After the successful deletion, your WordPress website will no longer be in WordPress maintenance mode.

Conclusion on the WP Maintenance Mode Plugin

There are many other plugins that you can use to put your WordPress website into maintenance mode. After extensive testing and years of experience, we can say: WP Maintenance Mode is our absolute favourite.

Besides super simple installation and configuration, the plugin offers you many practical functions. Thanks to the counter, you can make customers aware of the duration of the temporary "renovation" and at the same time arouse their interest in what will be new after the renovation. If you find texts too boring, use the chatbot from WP Maintenance Mode. Here you can playfully inform about the current status of your website and at the same time collect email addresses for upcoming newsletter campaigns.

Not using the plugin and instead creating your own landing page with all the functions would a) not fulfil the desired purpose of a maintenance mode, as the URLs would still be accessible and b) it would be much more effort. This way, you can store all your data once, customise the design and adapt the chatbot to your wording. In the future, you simply adjust one or two data and you have a modern, informative and user-friendly maintenance mode for your website - without much work.

WordPress maintenance mode without plugin

1. activate WordPress maintenance mode via a maintenance file

If you decide not to use a plugin, you can alternatively activate the WordPress maintenance mode manually in your hosting backend with the help of the .maintenance file. To do this, log into your hosting backend and navigate to your base directory. Now manually create a file with the name ".maintenance" via "+", "Create file". Attention: Do not forget the dot before "maintenance".

Using the text editor, insert the following PHP code:

<?php $upgrading = time(); ?>

Activate WordPress maintenance mode via maintenance file

Once you have created the file, your website is in maintenance mode. The interface in WordPress maintenance mode looks like this by default for WPspace customers.

In contrast to the WP Maintenance Mode plugin, you only have more complicated ways to design the page. On the other hand, the Maintenace file is created much faster than the entire initial configuration of the WP Maintenace Mode plugin.

As soon as the "construction work" on your website is finished, you can simply delete the .maintenace file you created. This allows you to deactivate the maintenance mode.

2. activate the WordPress maintenance mode manually with the help of functions.php.

If you still want to do without the plugin, but would like to design the WordPress maintenance mode page with images or text, you can go the "functions.php" route. The "functions.php" file is a template file. In the code of this file, features can be added to your WordPress instance. In our case, this also includes the maintenance mode with graphics or texts.

In the base directory you will find your wp-includes folder. Here you will find the "functions.php" file. First you have to insert a code here to activate the WordPress maintenance mode.

<?php

function maintenace_mode()

{ if ( !current_user_can( 'administrator' ) ) {

wp_die('Maintenance.');

}

}

add_action('get_header', 'maintenace_mode');

?>

As already mentioned, you can also insert images and texts to personalise your WordPress maintenance mode. To inform your visitors with a short text about the current maintenance work on your website, you can insert the following code.

function kb_maintenancemode()

 {

  if ( !current_user_can( 'edit_themes' ) || !is_user_logged_in() )

{

  wp_die(‚<h1>An unserer Webseite werden aktuell Wartungsarbeiten durchgeführt.</h1><p>Wir möchten dir das bestmögliche Erlebnis auf unserer Webseite bieten, weshalb wir unsere Inhalte aktuell verbessern. Unsere Webseite ist bald wieder wie gewohnt für dich erreichbar.</p> ‚, ‚Webseite aktuell im Wartungsmodus‘);

    }

  }

add_action('get_header', 'kb_maintenance_mode');

As soon as you have implemented your changes and your website should be accessible to your visitors as usual again, delete the inserted code from your functions.php file.

Conclusion on activation by code

Activating the WordPress maintenance mode via code is a quick way to maintain your website for whatever reason. With a little coding know-how, you can create a landing page that contains all the important information for the customer and looks good at the same time. It has to be admitted that the possibilities are not as wide-ranging as with a plug-in and the activation does not work as intuitively as with a plug-in.

Overall conclusion on WordPress maintenance mode

The WordPress maintenance mode allows you to easily rebuild your website without visitors seeing the mess. Depending on the duration of your maintenance work, you can decide whether a simple design or a more elaborate one is right for you.

By integrating chatbots and mail queries for newsletters, you can even prevent losing important leads during maintenance work on your WordPress instance. Of course, you should also use the interface to inform your customers about the current work on your website.

All in all, it can be said that the maintenance mode is suitable if you have planned major changes to your website. This includes, for example, a redesign of your website. However, if you only want to make small text adjustments or replace images, it is definitely not worth putting the website into WordPress maintenance mode.

5 individual text suggestions for your WordPress maintenance mode

Often you are at a loss as to how and what to put in the text of your maintenance page. We have collected a few individual ideas for the text of your WordPress maintenance page for you. Of course, you can also just be inspired by the suggestions and adapt the wording for your own website.

Idea 1: Provide concise information

"We are currently working on our website. Our website will be available again from 01.01.2022, 15.00 hrs. Until then, please feel free to contact us by email at MusterMail@wpspace.de. Thank you for your patience."

Idea 2: Sympathetically to the point

"Our website is currently undergoing a redesign and is therefore unfortunately not accessible. We are stepping on the gas so that you can visit our website again as usual on 01.01.2021 at 14.00 hrs. If you have any questions before then, you can reach us by email at Muster123@wpspace.ce or on 01234/567789. We thank you for your understanding!

Idea 3: Announce conversion work

"Current conversion work! The renovation work on our website will be completed by 01.01.2022. Then you can visit our site again as usual. Thank you for your understanding!"

Idea 4: Short and crisp

"We are currently rebuilding! Will be back for you from 01.01.2022!"

All ideas work well with a supporting image. You know the classic construction site images on WordPress maintenance pages, alternatively you can already give a hint of the new design of the website. There are no limits to creativity. In the past, Twitter always had a very appealing interface for its maintenance mode.

General tips on the text of your WordPress maintenance mode

Don't be afraid to get creative! You know your target group and website best. If your website already has humorous wording, then use it on your WordPress maintenance page. A joke like that makes the inaccessibility of the website go away again 😉

However, never forget to offer your visitors an alternative way to reach you or the support team. Ideally, in addition to the email address, provide another option that visitors can use to find out about the current status on their own. This could be a Twitter or LinkedIn profile, for example, where you post regular updates.

Need help with your WordPress maintenance mode?

We won't leave you alone! If you need help with your WordPress maintenance, feel free to contact us at any time. We offer custom WordPress maintenance plans so you don't have to worry about a thing. We'll do all the updates for you as part of the WordPress maintenance - and not only that, we'll make sure they don't break your website beforehand. We also take care of pretty much all other IT issues related to your WordPress website and its hosting, so you don't have to deal with them anymore. Here you can get an overview of our WordPress maintenance offers and of course always contact us if you have any questions - no matter which way!

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About the guest author

Isabell Bergmann

As Online Marketing Manager at WPspace, I love to share my knowledge around online marketing, web design and hosting.

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