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Reader Interactions


  1. LOVED your post script… It’s amazing how many people don’t have their cpanel access (not that I know much about what to do with it once I’m there!). I know that little I’m dangerous! πŸ˜‰

  2. Great tip! Though sometimes this won’t help. Additional step is to find the file called wp-activate.php in the root directory, find WP_INSTALLING parameter there and change it from true to false. This way:
    define(Β«WP_INSTALLINGΒ», false);

    Then save the file and we’re done.

  3. Hi I have similar problem but not the same. My website works all right, but I can’t log to the admin panel because I get the message. I chcecked everywhere for .maitonance, but I can’t find it. Only folders that were modified today are wp-content/plugins and wp-content/upgrade (this folder is empty). Have you got any ideas how to fix it?

  4. Hi Carrie, Thanks for a great post, although I’ve a slightly different issue. Like an earlier reader, I only see the message when I am trying to access /wp-admin page and I can’t find a .maintenance file in my root folder. Any idea how to fix it? Advice gratefully appreciated.

    • Hey Elizabeth,
      This may be happening due to a wonky plugin or weird active theme setting in the database. First step is to log into your server via FTP (or cPanel or whatever), go to /wp-content/plugins and rename the plugins folder to something else, say pluginsX.

      What that does is immediately disable all plugins (WordPress isn’t looking for a folder called pluginsX). Try accessing /wp-admin/ again and see if that does the trick. If so, go back and change the name back to the original on the plugins folder. All your plugins will be de-activated. Re-activate one by one to find the culprit. Sometimes there may not even be a culprit – something just may have gone sideways.

      So that’s what I’d try first. If that doesn’t help, then it’s possible that the active theme (according to the database) doesn’t exist or is corrupt. You’ll need to change to a theme that does exist (preferably a default theme, such as Twenty Sixteen). There are lots of tutorials for that, but here’s one to start you out.

      One of those methods should set you right. If not, get in touch with your hosting company. πŸ™‚

      • (Slapping sounds…)

        (Man yelling in fustration…) “GAAAAAHHHHH”

        (Man switches to Google and googles….)

        (Man clicks on this result and intensely reads inches away from the monitor.)

        (Man follows instructions….)

        (Man sighs…)

        Hot damn if I ever saw a perfect solution. Thank you for sharing this. This happened to me on my local “staging” site and I couldn’t find the .maintenance file. Not sure why but reading the comments led me to this solution you just described here.

        And all that hard work has been saved.

        Thanks for a great entertaining post. I gotta admit slapping myself stung a little bit but it sure made me chuckle.

  5. I have been using WordPress for years and had never had this happen before. I was just starting to sweat when I found your easy fix with very clear instructions. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  6. The message was the same and I wasn’t using maintenance mode plugin.
    As I wrote in my earlier comment: website was working but admin panel was blocked by the message. I spent few hours on Thursday trying to fix it, but nothing worked. I had busy Friday so I decided to try to fix it on Monday. When I hit /wp-admin page on Monday everything was fine, nothing to fix.
    I had that issue once again when I was updating multiple plugins at once, but this time it fixed itself within an hour.

  7. I have “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” but reading the solution on this page I HAVE AUTO SOLVED!! But why and how? Thank from Bangladesh.

  8. Thank you for the heads up. In my case, by the time I checked via FTP, there was no .maintenance file and I checked back and my site was working properly again. For whatever reason, it took the server a particularly long time to update the plugin.

  9. Wheeee! Thank you! Luckily I AM using a staging site but still this was the perfect tutorial to save me buckets of time.

  10. My update of a plugin today failed due to an internal error, then I saw this message. I was looking for an option in my database but in vain. Then I found your post and it saved me a lot of time and headache. Thanks.

    • Yeah, changing a plugin’s name will automatically de-activate it, so if that was the culprit you found the easiest way to get your site back online. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Every time I found your article on google, I feels I β€˜ll get my answer. really amazing efforts you put on your article to make it easier to understand.

  12. Great! Thanks for this wonderful tip. I’ve just recovered from the Scheduled Maintenance error after applying your fix. However, I’d updated the plugin on my local WP instance (not on the remote site) to be on safer side.

  13. Carrie – I could really use your help. My wordpress site is down with this message and I’ve tried all your workarounds and nothing is fixing it.
    I’m really at a loss and the company is on my back to get it fixed ASAP (it’s been 5 days).
    Any help would be appreciated.

  14. Thanks got me to where the maint message came from, but then the whole site went down with no message after deleting it. I had just updated a couple of plugins. and one of them failed with a fatal error. took a while to figure out what happen. A word to the wise, only update one plugin at a time so you know who got ya.

  15. Hi Carrie, I wrote a similar post back in 2013 but today your post has educated me even further. I didn’t know about the @lifanovsky wp-activate.php fix. I hope you don’t mind but I added my own version to my post and copied your comment link as the credit source. What a fab find! Happy to remove it if it’s an issue though.

  16. Carrie, thank you for this! I just accidentally refreshed an update in progress and got this error, and fixed it exactly as described.

  17. Hi Carrie,

    Thank you for this article. It worked, the only thing I needed to figure out was the location, and it was very easily to be found. It was in the root directory.

    I love your blog’s theme as well though.

  18. Can anyone offer an additional suggestions? Same problem here. The site has no .maintenance file and tried this: Additional step is to find the file called wp-activate.php in the root directory, find WP_INSTALLING parameter there and change it from true to false. This way:
    define(Β«WP_INSTALLINGΒ», false);

    It won’t let me make the change; says: Couldn’t get handle: SSH2_FX_PERMISSION_DENIED – Permission denied

    Thank you!

    • That’s a permissions issue where it sounds like your user account does have privileges to make those changes. I’d recommend contacting your web host.

  19. Thanks so much for your simple solution. I have just updated 3 plugins in wordpress 4.9.7. And bum, I have this error. I try to find it out in 30 minutes & at the end found in your quick fix.
    Once again, thanks for your tip and hope that you will write more helpful articles in future.

  20. Just one quick extra tip — especially when you don’t have the FTP option handy and need to use cPanel.

    In cPanel, if you use the File Manager to view your WordPress root, you may not see this file as it is a “hidden file”.

    Either 1) when launching File Manage within cPanel, if it gives you the option to select a directory to view, check the box that says “Show Hidden Files (dotfiles)”.

    Or if your File Manage launches without the options panel visible (as you have previously chosen to skip the option panel in future) — then find the “Settings” link and cog wheel in the top right, and you can turn on showing hidden files from there — and you’ll then see the pesky .mainteance file to delete.

  21. Hello Carrie! Really timeless your helpful post! This stressful message appeared on my website when I was updating a plugin! As you said so well, I panicked because, even if my website is brand new, I have big projects with him! So, I had the good reflex to search in google, and I came across your excellent post. Admittedly, I the website corrected itself, but your article still reassured me and I was sure to get there following your instructions. Thank you so much. And congratulations for your writing style, so convincing and reassuring. Best regards.

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