WordPress Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance (Solved)
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WordPress Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance (Solved)

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The ‘WordPress briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ notification is a common problem.

It's not a small issue, because it makes sites inaccessible. So WordPress users are looking for help to resolve this problem as soon as possible.

WordPress sites are often updated to enhance the function of the plugins, themes, and WordPress core. But sometimes the process runs into an error and the page stays in the wp maintenance mode.

As a result, the system generates the scheduled maintenance notification.

Learning about WordPress processes and errors is useful. Both developers and web owners can avoid problems and wasting time on troubleshooting.

The ‘WordPress briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error has some typical causes. This article explains what the notification means and how to fix it.

What the ‘WordPress Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance’ Error Means

 

It means that WordPress is in maintenance mode because the site failed to finish an update.

WordPress creates the temporary file .maintenance when it starts to update the core files, plugins, or themes. This turns on a maintenance mode and the WordPress site becomes unavailable for a brief time.

Next, the Content Management System (CMS) downloads all the update files to the server. It installs them and applies them to the site.

It only takes a few seconds, sometimes a couple of minutes to replace the old files. At the end of the update, the .maintenance file disappears, disabling maintenance mode.

But sometimes, the update process gets interrupted and the .maintenance file isn't removed. The WordPress site remains in maintenance mode and this issue triggers the notification.

Here are some typical causes of the problem:

1. Low memory can lead to an incomplete update. WordPress is made up of PHP scripts and they run the updates too.

If the memory capacity is low, the process will fail before it's complete. That means that the site will stay in maintenance mode.

2. A slow server response can prevent the script from finishing the update and switching off the maintenance mode. The scripts in WordPress have to run within a set time limit.

3. Compatibility issues can also interrupt the updating process. Whether it's a theme or a plugin that needs an update, the new version may clash with WordPress.

So these are the reasons for the ‘WordPress briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ notification.

In general, it's the WordPress maintenance mode that triggers the message. Due to an incomplete update, the .maintenance file is not deleted from the WordPress root folder.

Next, discover how to remove the .maintenance file manually.

How To Disable the WordPress Maintenance Mode

 

The ‘briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error isn't difficult to fix. But it's important to follow the instructions with great care.

The process involves making changes to the WordPress root directory.

Creating a backup is the first important step to take to avoid any data loss. Secure tools such as BlogVault can help users with that.

There are two ways to disable the maintenance mode by hand. Users can remove the .maintenance file from the main directory using:

1. File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client

2. cPanel and File Manager

Using FTP To Disable the WordPress Maintenance Mode

 

The error will disappear once the .maintenance file is manually deleted. This action will turn off the maintenance mode.

Users familiar with their FTP can follow the process below to navigate to their WordPress core files and fix the problem.

1. Connect to an FTP client, such as FileZilla.

2. Go to the public_html folder. If it’s not visible, it may be 'hidden'.

To view hidden files, click on Server and select Force showing hidden files.

3. Find the .maintenance file within the public_html folder.

 

4. Right-click on the .maintenance file and Delete it.

5. Check if your WordPress site is working again.

Using cPanel To Disable the WordPress Maintenance Mode

 

Users can also remove the .maintenance file via cPanel/ File Manager. This depends on their hosting provider.

Here are the steps:

1. Sign in to cPanel and go to Files.

2. Open the File Manager.

3. Click on the name of your site and find the public_html folder.

4. Locate the .maintenance file within the folder.

 

5. Right-click on the .maintenance file and Delete it.

6. Reload your page. Check if the ‘WordPress briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ message has disappeared.

In some cases, users can't find the .maintenance file, but they will see the wp-activate.php file instead. One can also deactivate the maintenance mode this way:

1. Open the wp-activate.php file.

2. Find the WP_INSTALLING parameter.

3. Within the parameter change the value from true to false.

4. Save the changes. Check if the ‘WordPress briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error is gone.

Fixing the WordPress Briefly Unavailable For Scheduled Maintenance Error: Editing the wp-activate.php

If the error message still hasn't disappeared, here are some further tips.

 

Clearing the cache sometimes resolves the issue. So remove the .maintenance file manually and then clear the cache.

Return to the site and check if it's back on.

If the error is still there, the maintenance mode hasn't been disabled. The solution lies with the wp-activate.php file that users need to modify.

Once again, users can access the main WordPress folder through either an FTP client or cPanel.

Modifying the wp-activate.php Via FTP Client

 

Here are the steps for editing the code in the wp-activate.php file using an FTP client:

1. Log in to the FTP client.

2. Go to the root directory, which is the public_html folder.

3. Locate the wp-activate.php file.

4. Right-click on the file and choose View/Edit. Open it in a text editor.

5. Find the following line:

define( 'WP_INSTALLING', true );

6. Change the value from true to false.

7. Save the changes and upload the file to update the old one.

8. Check if the ‘WordPress briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ message has disappeared.

Modifying the wp-activate.php Via cPanel

 

Here are the steps for editing the code in the wp-activate.php file using cPanel:

1. Sign in to cPanel and go to Files.

2. Open the File Manager.

3. Find the public_html folder.

4. Locate the wp-activate.php file within the folder and download it.

5. Open it in a text editor and look for the following line of code:

define( ‘WP_INSTALLING’, true );

6. Change the value from true to false.

7. Save the modifications and upload it to the WordPress root folder. It will override the old file.

8. Clear the cache. Check if the ‘WordPress briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error is gone.

Tips On How To Avoid the WordPress Scheduled Maintenance Error

This article gives practical help for fixing the WordPress scheduled maintenance error. A few simple practices can help users avoid the error in the future and save precious time:

1. Keep the Browser Tab Active During an Update

Closing the browser tab before the update finishes can lead to the error. Make sure to wait until this message appears:

Disabling Maintenance mode… All updates have been completed.

This easy step will keep your WordPress site safe.

2. Limit the Number of Updates That Run Simultaneously

 

Another good practice is to update the plugins and themes on a regular basis, one at a time. Updating too many at once may trigger the WordPress maintenance mode problem.

Make it a habit to check for individual updates often. Download the new version as soon as it comes out.

WordPress will then most likely complete the whole process. So your site won't get stuck in the maintenance mode.

3. Check the Compatibility of the New Version

 

Sometimes users download a new version of a theme or a plugin without checking its compatibility. It is a simple step, but it can save a lot of stress.

The View Details link provides information about compatibility with the current WordPress version.

Ending thoughts on ‘WordPress briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ error

The smooth function of a WordPress website, for a large part, depends on updates. New versions of plugins, themes, and core files enhance a site's operations.

A WordPress website goes into maintenance mode during an update. But the process doesn't always complete, so users may need to disable the mode manually.

This article offered many tips on how to deal with the ‘WordPress briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance’ notification.

Users need to delete the .maintenance file from the public_html folder. This step will deactivate the maintenance mode.

Following good practices will also prevent websites from being stuck in maintenance mode.

If you enjoyed reading this article on WordPress briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance error, you should check out this one about WordPress add media button not working error.

We also wrote about a few related subjects like failed to open stream error, WordPress post missed schedule, failed to load resource error, WordPress posting to Facebook done automatically, Wordpress mixed content errors, how to reorder pages in WordPress and WordPress updating failed error.

Albert Ślusarczyk
Albert Ślusarczyk
As the co-creator of Be Theme, I am a strong believer in designing with care and patience. I pour my energy, time & knowledge into perfecting the theme for our 230,000+ customers.