If you’ve been keeping up with your WordPress updates, you may have run into a message saying “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance check back in a minute.”
Even if you’ve already completed the upgrade, this message could still appear. The problem with WordPress stuck in maintenance mode usually happens when you update the WordPress core itself.
But it can also occur when updating theme or plugin. This is a common problem when updating on shared WordPress hosting. The update process may timeout, leaving your site in maintenance mode and inaccessible.
Don’t worry, your life as you know it isn’t over. Don’t start cursing and throwing things around (or is it just me). There is salvation, and it’s very simple.
What Causes “Briefly Unavailable For Scheduled Maintenance Check Back In A Minute?”
When WordPress is updating the core WordPress files, plugins or themes, your site is marked as under maintenance mode.
When you see the “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” message, that’s a WordPress-generated notification that notifies any visitors about what’s happening with your website.
Let’s say you’re updating your plugins and someone happens to visit your site during the updating process. They will see that notification message and probably visit later or refresh the page after few minutes.
During the update process, WordPress downloads necessary update files to your server, extracts them, and installs new files. Maintenance mode is created as a file named .maintenance in the root directory ( the maintenance directory that contains the “wp-admin”). Maintenance mode page is technically not an error. It is a notification page.
If everything worked normally, WordPress briefly unavailable for maintenance message will disappear, and visitors will again see your live site.
However, sometimes due to a web server’s slow response or low memory issue, the update script may timeout or get interrupted. When this happens, WordPress does not get a chance to take your site out of maintenance mode.
Unless .maintenance file is removed your site will remain in the maintenance mode and visitors of your website will continue to see that awful looking message.
To summarize what causes WordPress to stuck in maintenance mode:
- Low memory issue
- Web server’s slow response
- Other causes of interruption
How To Fix Briefly Unavailable For Scheduled Maintenance Issue?
As already mentioned when doing updates, WordPress generates a .maintenance file in the root directory of the installation. It is to prevent visitors from being confronted with ugly, broken pages during the upgrade process.
With normal behavior, the update script completes and WordPress auto-removes the .maintenance file. In the case of an interruption of some sort, this file doesn’t get deleted, and the message won’t go away.
So to fix maintenance error and to remove scheduled maintenance notification, you need to delete .maintenance manually.
1. Wait for a while
The maintenance mode will only remain active for 10 minutes even if it’s stuck. So if you are stuck on this scheduled maintenance mode message, you can wait for 10 minutes to pass and see if it will disappear.
2. Delete .maintenance via FTP or cPanel
To remove the scheduled maintenance manually, login to the root of your WordPress installation via FTP or some file manager tool like the ones included with hosting control panels.
- Log into your web server via FTP or your web host’s control panel
- Locate the root of your WordPress install (this is where you’ll find folders for wp-content, wp-admin, and wp-includes)
- Look for a file called .maintenance (it should be in wp-content)
- Delete it
- Refresh your WordPress site to see that everything’s normal again
NOTE: Files which start with a full stop/period are marked as hidden files on Unix/Linux. You may need to enable show hidden files on your FTP client before you can see this file. In Filezilla, you need to go to server->force show hidden files.
What After You Delete Maintenance File?
Don’t worry about maintenance file. It will be automatically created again when you will perform updates on your website again. Once you have deleted the .maintenance file, it is a good idea to re-apply the updates you were doing to make sure they have been completed correctly.
How do you know if you should run the update again? You’ll see a notification on the dashboard page same as you always see when a new upgrade is available.
This fix assumes the blog upgrade failure was really just a one-time occurrence and not a symptom of a larger problem. If you’ve deleted the file and the automatic upgrade continues to fail, you’ve probably got the bigger issue at hand.
Scheduled Maintenance Check Back In A Minute Fix Summary
“Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance check back in a minute” can seem like a scary message. But it is, in fact, one of easier to solve. Fixing it is pretty easy, and it usually doesn’t cause issues afterward. You should be lucky not to receive worst ones like WordPress blank site page issue.
If you’ve ever bumped into this problem or any other pain in the ass error messages which took extra effort to get rid of, let me know in comments below!
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