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How to fix “briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance check back in a minute” error in WordPress

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Errors like, “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance” can be pretty annoying when you are trying to access your WordPress website. But this error is common and only takes a few minutes to get out of it.

In this article, we will talk about what causes this error, how you can fix it, and how to avoid it.

WordPress maintenance mode

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What is WordPress maintenance mode?

WordPress maintenance mode is a common mode where WordPress simply downloads all the necessary files and updates them to your server. It extracts as well as installs all the new files.

WordPress has categorized maintenance mode into two:

  • The first mode is an automated feature by WordPress where it automatically downloads the new plugins, themes, and other regular updates. Unlike the next mode, it is not operated manually by the user.

  • The second mode of WordPress maintenance is the one that is operated manually. In this mode, you are supposed to download all the updates manually and WordPress does not have any permission to update plugins automatically. The user is supposed to install a special plugin called WordPress maintenance mode plugin which will make the manual maintenance possible.

In the second maintenance mode which is operated manually, the user has two options for activating it.

  • Downloading the plugin called WordPress maintenance mode plugin.
  • Using a code snippet instead of the plugin where the user can insert the following code into functions dot PHP file how to enter wordpress maintenance mode: // Activate WordPress Maintenance Mode function 

wp_maintenance_mode(){if(!current_user_can(‘edit_themes’) || !is_user_logged_in()){wp_die(‘

Website under Maintenance

We are performing scheduled maintenance.We will be back on-line shortly!’);}}add_action(‘get_header’, ‘wp_maintenance_mode’);

The chances of getting the error message:

briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance check back in a minute error in WordPress

“briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance check back in a minute” is generally experienced when the WordPress is automatically updating the plugins and themes and other refresh updates without any input from the user, ie, the automated method of WordPress maintenance. 

Hence it is preferred that users should use the manual method of WordPress maintenance by either downloading the WordPress maintenance plugin or inserting the code. This is because when WordPress automatically updates all the fresh files a new file is created during this maintenance process called .maintenance directly in the root directory. 

This new file is added as an intention to notify the user regarding the updates on his or her WordPress website. 

After this, the WordPress resumes that the updating process went normally and hence the .maintenance file which was created in the root directory will automatically be removed by the WordPress after completing all the updates. 

Once this process is completed the website viewers will normally visit your site and all the scheduled things will go back to normal once the site is live again.

However the error message “briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance check back in a minute” may still appear on your website even after the whole process went smoothly and the update work completed.

Let us take a deeper look and explore which issues might have led to the error message in your WordPress maintenance mode.   

How did I end up in a WordPress maintenance mode?

During the usage of WordPress’s built-in up-gradation system, to update new plugins, themes, and software in the dashboard, the users will generally witness that the WordPress puts the live website in the maintenance mode to ensure that all the necessary updates are updated smoothly and are not disturbed during this process.

How to turn of maintenance mode

The users might witness at least one of the following messages while WordPress is automatically downloading all the new updates:

  1. WordPress turn maintenance mode on/off is visible.
  2. During the up-gradation process, if any of the site viewers try to visit the WordPress site, he or she will see a popup message saying, “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute”.
  3. Another message might be to check back the website after a little while as the website is unable due to the scheduled maintenance.

Therefore, it is pretty clear from the message itself that the error message “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” is only there for a limited time (while the updating process is going on) and the site will go back to normal after it is completed.

Once the automatic up-gradation is completed WordPress generally removes the website from maintenance mode after ensuring that all the necessary updates are completed and are in their respective places. This process generally takes only a few seconds and the admin or the user might not even realize this issue or blockage.

However, the problem occurs when the website gets stuck during the WordPress maintenance mode and the error message “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” appears for a long time. This can be an issue because the site users will not be able to visit or access it until and unless the website is out of maintenance mode.

There can be different reasons behind this error and the most common reasons are stated below:

  • The admin closed the browser tab in between the up-gradation process.
  • The user tried to update numerous plugins and/or different themes simultaneously which lead to the error.
  • There might be some kind of compatibility issues with any particular update which might have caused a glitch in between the maintenance.

These are the most common reasons behind the error message “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute”. Fortunately, getting out of this glitch is pretty easy and the user only needs to delete a single file through FTP.

How to fix “briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance check back in a minute”?

As we discussed earlier, during the maintenance mode WordPress adds a single file in the root directory (a similar folder which has wp-config.php file) namely, .maintenance.

If the user wishes to get the website out of the WordPress maintenance mode and remove the error message  “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” then he or she simply has to delete the file called .maintenance from the root directory.

This can be achieved by following a few simple steps:

Step 1: Connecting the WordPress website via SFTP

To start with the recovery process, the user is required to use an FTP program which is supposed to be connected to the WordPress website via SFTP. The SFTP credentials can be easily found on a website’s dashboard. Once you are done with connecting to your website, you will find a brief list of all the files of your website in a public folder.

Step 2: Delete the file named,.maintenance

Once the user is able to access the targeted file (.maintenance), it should be deleted to solve the stuck maintenance mode problem.

That’s it. Once the.maintenance file is successfully deleted from the root directory, the WordPress website will go back to normal and the sites us will easily be able to access and view it like before.

In some cases, the.maintenance file might not be visible directly in the public folder and here the user might need to check hidden files as well. For example, in FileZilla, the user can click on the option saying ‘server’ at the top and then choose “Force showing hidden files” option.

How to avoid it in the future?

This error can steal valuable viewers from your website and therefore, it is important to know how you can avoid this issue in. future. 

Following are a few things which you can ensure to avoid this problem:

  • Do not close the browser tab in between the updates: While the WordPress update system is in function, it is best to leave your browser tab on till the time you can see a pop-up message “Disabling Maintenance mode…All updates have been completed”. Otherwise, you may again witness this issue. Once the updates are completed you can close the browser tab.

Do not close the browser tab in between the updates

  • Do not update too many plugins and themes simultaneously: It is often advised to not update a lot of things at the same time as it can cause certain glitches in the system. Try downloading all the updates one by one and do not update them all in a single go. 

Do not update too many plugins and themes simultaneously to avoid maintenance error

  • Checking the compatibility of all the themes and plugins before updating them: Another way to avoid stock maintenance mode is to check the compatibility of all the themes and plugins before updating them blindly on your website. The theme or the plugins you wish to update must be compatible with the WordPress version you are using.

Check compatibility to avoid maintenance mode in WordPress

This article was a complete guide to help you understand all the aspects of the error message “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance” and will help you to avoid and recover your website which might be stuck in the maintenance mode. It is important to solve this problem as and when it occurs because this can block your website from the visitors.

Author avatar
Tim Michaels
I am into WordPress and web development for the last 10 years. I use my experience to help people just starting with WordPress. Follow my blog at WP Uber for everything related to WordPress.
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