How to put WordPress in maintenance mode

Screenshot of a maintenance mode

So you have some major changes planned for your WordPress website. Are you the type of person who makes all the changes in a live environment or do you use a staging environment?

For major changes to any website, we prefer to use a staging environment to make all the changes, and test everything, until we are happy.

Here is a high level overview of the steps

  1. Put your WordPress site into maintenance mode
  2. Create a staging website (a copy of your actual website)
  3. Perform the updates on the staging environment
  4. Test everything to make sure things look good
  5. If everything looks good, push the website from the staging to production
  6. Test on the live site
  7. If everything looks good, disable maintenance mode

What is WordPress maintenance mode?

As you can see, steps #1 and #7 above call for enabling and disabling maintenance mode. This is where you display a friendly message to your visitors letting them know that changes are happening on the website and that things will return to normal soon.

You can achieve this effect in many different ways, but the easiest way is to use a plugin.

Using the Under Construction plugin

  • Download the Under Construction plugin
  • Enable maintenance mode by switching the toggle
  • Select the theme you want to display

There are over 200 different themes to choose from so pick one that goes with your brand style.

Screenshot of Under Construction Page Plugin settings
Under Construction Page Plugin Settings

Next, select a theme you want to display

Screenshot of Under Construction Page Plugin settings
Under Construction Page Plugin Settings

Final Results

Screenshot of Under Construction Page Plugin
Under Construction Page Plugin

What is your maintenance mode solution?

If you’ve been doing maintenance on your WordPress website for awhile, you know that putting your website into maintenance mode is ideal for dealing with major changes.

Sure, you can made changes in your live environment, but why run the risk if the changes don’t go as planned?

Using maintenance mode allows you to test everything, while displaying a friendly message to your site visitors. Ultimately, you don’t want your site visitors to reach a non-functioning website.

Let me know in the comments how you’re dealing with major changes. Are you using maintenance mode at all? and if you are, what tools or solutions are you using? I’d love to hear from you.

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Mario Seijo

Creative Director - focused on helping underserved entrepreneurs launch and optimize their websites.