Escaping the maintenance mode trap

WordPress makes upgrading very easy . You simply click “Update now”, wait for a minute or two and your system is up to date. If, well if everything works fine.
The most common problem during an upgrade is the Internet connection to drop unexpectedly or the user to shut down the browser unintentionally. In both situations the upgrade will stop instantly.
If you try to log in to your backend again you will receive the message

“Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.”

This message is useful to keep users away from your blog during the upgrade but right now it’s keeping you from restarting the upgrade. To solve this problem we have to take a look at how WordPress determines that it’s in maintenance mode.

WordPress is looking for a possible maintenance mode very early to prevent the system dying from any fatal error. So it using a very simple method by writing a file called .maintenance to the WordPress root directory. If the blog or backend is accessed it will check for the file and stop if it’s present.

Knowing this the solution to our problem is quite simple: access your WordPress system via FTP and delete the file .maintenance.

If you’re not able to log in to your server via FTP for some reason there is a second method for escaping from maintenance mode: simply wait 10 minutes!
The file .maintenance contains a timestamp of the time the file was created. If this time is less than 10 minutes ago WordPress will go into maintenance mode otherwise it will continue to work as usual and enable you to restart the upgrade unless something worse keeps it from starting.

Join To Design A Graphic For The New Maintenance Mode Plugin

The Maintenance Mode Plugin “!Wartungsmodus” is a very often used Plugin but I hardly changed it for a long time. But not long ago David Hellmann came up with a wonderful design proposal and I created the Plugin completely new with different options. From now on you can pick the design for the maintenance page. Also, you can choose various options without changing the code.

A short description of the Plugin:

It adds a maintenance-page to your blog that lets visitors know your blog is down for maintenance. User with rights for theme-options get full access to the blog including the frontend. This Plugin writes nothing in your database! Activate the Plugin and your blog is in maintenance-mode. Nevertheless, it was important to me that it is simple and easy to use, and so there is no separate page in the backend just for the settings. You can adjust the settings right below the Plugin in the Plugin list.


Where you can come in!

Also, I built the site so it is quite simple to add new designs, which brought me to the idea: Send me your design proposals to info [at], and I build them into the Plugin.

Aktiv Maintenance-Mode with Theme "The Truck" and german language

How does it work?

To create new designs for the maintenance mode, I need the stylesheet from you and the relevant images, if necessary. If the text “Maintenance Mode” is an image, I also would need the image in PSD format so I can change it to English and German as an image (PNG or JPG), because the Plugin should work multilingual.

But if you are just a designer with no CSS knowledge, we are also happy if your provide us a cool design without the CSS.

Now, however, to write the CSS, it is necessary to follow the markup. Based on this markup, I would like to get a stylesheet from you.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
<html xmlns="" xml:lang="de" lang="de" id="wartungsmodus" >

    <title>Blogname - Maintenance Mode</title>


    <div id="header">
        <p>WP Dev</p>

    <div id="content">

        <h1>Maintenance Mode</h1>
        <p>Sorry for the inconvenience.<br />Our website is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance.<br /><strong>Please try back in 231 weeks.</strong><br />Thank you for your understanding.</p>
        <div class="admin"><a href="">Admin-Login</a></div>

    <div id="footer">
        <p><a href="">Plugin by: <img src="" alt="" width="16" height="16" /></a></p>


But as a normal user you can also add your own stylesheet and add the URL of this style to the options of the Plugin. Write your style according to this markup and upload to your webspace; after that add the URL including http:// to the settings of this Plugin and change the theme to “My Theme”:

What are the benefits to provide a design?

I’m sure many will ask. I just hope that you recognize the value for you and the community. You get recognition by our readers and users of this Plugin. In addition, I will of course list the authors of the designs on the Plugin page at Optional is a link on the site, if the maintenance mode is active, so depending on the design, the favicon of the designer is listed. Since the Plugin is under GNU license, it is possible to disable the link in the backend of WordPress.

Last but not least not to forget it is fun and should not be difficult to create a graphic or CSS for the design.

Active Maintenance-Mode with Theme "The Sun"

Time frame?

Basically, you can always send me new designs info [at], I will install them after review. But beginning of September we will let our readers vote for the best Maintenance Mode design and the top 10 designs will be included in the Plugin. It would be great if you can send your designs by August 31st!

Please send your design as ZIP file with all the data to info [at] We really appreciate your contribution!

I’m anxious to see your ideas and creativity!