Understanding & Preventing The ‘Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance. Check Back in a Minute’ Error

website maintenance

Every WordPress expert or newbie has once or twice encountered the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” message at least once if they have a long-running website. The question here is, what does the error message mean?

For someone who’s new to WordPress, the message can be confusing and scary; however, no need to worry because it’s not a hacker or a virus. It’s just WordPress updating and maintaining the plugins, themes, and WordPress version you’re currently using.

Today in this blog, I’ll be discussing what is the “WordPress Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” message, how to resolve it, and prevent it from happening again.

What Is The WordPress Maintenance Mode?

The maintenance mode of WordPress means the duration in which WordPress updates and carries out maintenance on your website. The Content Management System (CMS) updates all the themes, plugins, and features along with the WordPress version.

During this maintenance mode, the website shuts down. That’s when WordPress developers and users see the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” message.

Now, what are the maintenance modes?

Essentially, there are two different types of modes, and you can select from them.

The first mode is the automatic update and maintenance mode. WordPress takes charge of installing and updating your website on its own as they change over time.

Depending on the number of plugins, themes, and files you have on your WordPress website, the CMS makes the maintenance process quick and painless.

The second option is to update it yourself or manually. This way, your website doesn’t automatically update, and you can update it whenever you feel you attract less traffic. There are two ways you can choose to update your WordPress website manually:

  1. Install a WordPress maintenance mode plugin
  2. Add a code snippet to the PHP file

What Does The “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.”Message on WordPress Mean?

When WordPress starts the website update, it generates a new file by the name of .maintenancein the website’s root directory.

Once the file is generated, a maintenance page is placed on your website, blocking all access of your visitors.

It might seem like an annoying feature preventing you from attracting visitors and making money, but the page is for the greater good, in all honesty.

Implementing the WordPress maintenance page prevents you from accessing your website so that nothing appears faulty or broken while the CMS makes the necessary updates and installations. Hence, it’s not an error rather a barrier between a website being updated and your users.

If all goes and the maintenance is done, WordPress removes the .maintenance file. Once the file is removed, your website will go back live to your users and the search engine bots.

However, in some unfortunate cases, the .maintenance file isn’t removed, and the WordPress implemented maintenance page can still be seen.

Here are a few reasons why that’s happening:

  • The server has a slow response time.
  • The update script was interrupted or ran out of time.
  • There isn’t an ample amount of memory for the updates.
  • The .maintenance file assumes there are more updates left.
  • You’re trying to update multiple things manually.
  • Your manual maintenance plugin is turned on.
  • The browser or tab was closed before the updates and maintenance were done.

Regardless of the reason, it’s annoying that the updates are done, but your WordPress website is stuck on the maintenance page. But don’t fret, though, because there are simple fixes to take the page down and get your website working again.

Related: Fixing The “Sorry, This File Type Is Not Permitted for Security Reasons” Error in WordPress

How To Get Rid Of The “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” Message?

Don’t worry about removing the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” error; there are ways to fix it.

The error is appearing because something went wrong, and for that reason, WordPress failed to erase the .maintenance file.

The easy way out is to delete the .maintenance file manually, and there are two ways you can do this. However, remember it depends on your hosting provider.

  1. Use a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client
  2. Use the cPanel and File Manager

The methods above will guide you to delete the .maintenance file from the root directory of your installations; therefore, make sure you don’t make any mistakes because you could end up losing your data. Create a backup of your website.

Understanding The Methods

After you’ve backed up your website data, it’s now time to tackle the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” error.

Method 1 – The FTP Method

To reach the website’s root directory, first, you need to download an FTP client. Once the client connection is successful, you’ll notice all the website files under the public_htmlfolder. Now, locate the .maintenance file.

Place your cursor to select the file, right-click on the file, and press Delete.

Now, go back to your website and refresh the page. Once it refreshes, the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” error would have been disabled.

In case you can’t find the .maintenance file, go back to your client and click the Force showing hidden files button. This should help locate the .maintenance file.

Method 2 – Use The cPanel

Suppose your hosting provider comes with a cPanel. In that case, you can access the root directory directly from the file manager.

To do this, log into the cPanel and select File Manager. The manager will show you all the files in the root directory, and here you will locate the .maintenance file in the public_htmlfolder.

Right-click the .maintenance file and press Delete.

Go back to your website, refresh the page, and the error should be gone now.

In case you can’t find the file, find the wp-activate.php file when you enter the file manager. After you open the file, find the WP_INSTALLING parameter and change the true to false.

Once you make changes, save the file, and refresh the website to reflect the changes.

Tips For Preventing “The Site Is Under Maintenance. Please Come Back Later.” Error Message

Of course, it’s annoying when the website gets stuck on the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” error because it affects traffic and business; however, by now, you’ve learned how to tackle it.

Since WordPress is constantly being updated, it’s possible your website can get stuck in maintenance mode again.

You can use some of these tips to prevent your website from getting stuck again.

  • Don’t close the browser –Should you exit the browser while it’s updating, the whole process can fail. If the updates fail, WordPress will fail to delete the .maintenance
  • Don’t update too many things at once –The best practice is to update themes, plugins, and files one at a time. If you don’t put too much load on the server, the update could go smoothly and decrease the chances of your website getting stuck on maintenance mode. Avoid bulk updates to avoid plugin conflicts.
  • Have a staging website –It’s very common for compatibility issues to occur while updating your website, so it’s important to test them. Test the updated features of your WordPress on the staging version of your website to see what works and what doesn’t.
  • Get better hosting service –When your WordPress website is updated, PHP scripts run each update and installs them; however, if you have low memory or your server is slow, then the maintenance mode will crash. For the maintenance to run smoothly, consider upgrading to a better hosting plan so that everything is smooth.

The Best WordPress Maintenance Mode Plugins

Apart from the tips above, you can use a plugin to display a different message on your website while it updates. Consider one of the following plugins:

  • Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode
  • WP Maintenance Mode
  • Maintenance
  • ManageWP

Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode

The Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode is a plugin launched by SeedProd. It’s a freemium plugin, and it’s famous for offering two modes – maintenance and coming soon. When users create maintenance and coming soon webpages, they don’t have to download and install any additional plugins.

The plugin can also be used to build landing pages, and it’s highly customizable, which means it works well with WordPress themes.

The free version offers a lot of features; however, if you upgrade to the premium version, you can get additional features like:

  • Offers support for shortcode
  • Clients can use secret links to determine unpublished WordPress websites.
  • Virtual forms and referral program system.
  • Google Analytics

The premium version starts at $39.50 per year for a personal license.

WP Maintenance Mode

WP Maintenance Mode is another user favorite plugin that helps users enhance their WordPress Maintenance Mode webpage. The plugin is rich with features, and some of the best ones are:

A customizer that aids in changing font, colors, and backgrounds.

Users can integrate responsive design for mobile and offers SEO tools.

Templates of email-based form that can be exported as a CSV file.

Users can leave out certain URLs during maintenance mode.

Multisite support for WordPress websites.

Thinking about its price? No need; the plugin is absolutely free to use.

Maintenance

The Maintenance plugin is the best-selling plugin, and it offers a free and premium version. Some features it offers are:

  • It allows the user to create their own maintenance page design.
  • Users can also create full-page maintenance mode designs.
  • You can switch between on and off for the HTTP 503 code.
  • You can exclude webpages from the maintenance mode.
  • Only validated users can login.

If you upgrade to the premium version, you can also use countdown timers, signup forms, add social media links, and additional background options. The premium version comes available for a one-time fee of $25.

ManageWP

Now, ManageWP isn’t a plugin; however, if you connect your website to it anyway, you will be able to access the maintenance wall.

The ManageWP Maintenance Mode feature is like clicking a button to apply to your website. When you start it, you can choose between two templates:

  • Coming Soon
  • Website Under Maintenance

You can also edit the templates, so whenever you go into maintenance mode, your visitors will see the message you want them to see.

In Conclusion

It’s concerning when your website goes into maintenance mode and gets stuck on it because that affects website traffic. If a website is blocked, then users might believe it no longer exists and forget about your website.

However, I discussed what you could do about the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” in this blog. The simple methods will help you take down the webpage if WordPress fails to delete the .maintenance file.

If you’re still facing issues with removing the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” page, then don’t worry. We, at WP-Pals, have the expertise to help you. We’ll help you with taking down the webpage and make any fixes needed on the website. Contact us today!