How to Put Your WordPress Site into Maintenance Mode and Why You Would Want To

How to put your WordPress site into "Under Contruction" mode

Remember These?

Sometimes you need to hide your entire website from public visitors. Maybe it’s because you’re still experimenting and deciding what theme you want to apply, maybe you’re still hard at work creating the initial content for the site, of maybe you’ve been traipsing around in the code and completely horked your site (yes it’s happened to me more than once). Whatever your reason there are times when you want to block your site from the public.

It’s more than likely you’ll want to display a message to your visitors letting them know that you’re working on the site and that it’s only a temporary situation. With a hand coded website, this would involve creating a new temporary file for your main page and then changing the file name of the normal main page to something different. Then, when your changes were finished, you would have to reverse this process.

Luckily, blocking your site content and creating and displaying a “maintenance” message is dead simple with WordPress. It’s just one more reason to use WordPress as your web publishing platform. The secret to accomplishing this effortlessly is a direct result of a few plugin developers and the one plugin I prefer most is named WP Maintenance Mode by Bueltge.

What Does This Plugin Do?

From the plugin page:

Adds a maintenance-page to your blog that lets visitors know your blog is down for maintenance. Users with rights for theme-options get full access to the blog including the frontend.

Your main page before activating the plugin:

WordPress Main Page Before Activating the WP Maintenance Mode Plugin

Before Activating WP Maintenance Mode

Your main page after activating the plugin (before setting any of the many plugin options):

WordPress Website After Activating the WP Maintenance Plugin

After Activating WP Maintenance Mode

You might be thinking that the image above is no big deal, and you’re right, it’s not all that lovely to look at is it? It does do the job though, quick and easy. If you want to get fancier with your maintenance message, keep reading. This plugin offers more than just simplicity. It’s also feature packed.

What Can I Display to My Visitors?

You can display text messages or one of several background images. You can also display a countdown timer. Here’s an example after I entered some quick text into the header, heading, and content message areas.

How to display a maintenance message to your WordPress site visitors

A Written Message

Here’s another example of the above method but this time with a little HTML included to showcase the rest of this person’s sites in their network.

How to disply messages to visitors in WordPress

HTML with some links

You could also choose to display one of the several included maintenance message screens. I think they all look really nice and chances are that one of them could fit the mood of your site. Rather than duplicate the images of these different maintenance messages, go ahead and have a look at the available choices here.

How Do I Use It?

This is something important note. Usually after activating a plugin, you’ll see a new item under the Tools or Settings menus, but the Maintenance Mode plugin settings don’t follow that logic. The settings for this plugin are found on the plugins page. That is, wherever you see Maintenance Mode listed along with the other plugins, you’ll see a settings link right next to it. Clicking on the settings link will reveal the options see in the next image.

Maintenance Mode WordPress Plugin Settings

Maintenance Mode WordPress Plugin Settings

Along with all the styles to choose from above, you can also create your own custom styles. This is a very useful plugin for anyone who needs to quickly hide their site from the public. If you’ve found this tutorial to be useful, please share it with others via your preferred social network.

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  1. says

    Thanks for your contribution Adam. Question for you: Does WP Maintenance Mode support multisite? I tried activating within my theme and as network activated and both did not work. I appreciate any help you may provide.

    • Adam W. Warner says

      You’re welcome Dustin, and in my experience it does indeed work on multisite. A couple things to check:

      1. After you activate it, you need to make sure and go to the “Settings” listed on the plugin page and “Enable” Maintenance Mode.
      2. Make sure you’re logged out of all sites on your multisite installation otherwise you might still be logged in as an individual site admin somewhere.

      I’ve been burned by login issues before when testing various things and an easy method I use is to open another browser and put it in “private browsing” mode so no user cookies are saved. I make my change in one browser while logged in as admin, then check my changes in the other browser to ensure I’m actually logged out.

      Let us know how you get along ok?

    • says

      I started off using WP Maintenance Mode and it did work. I switched and have been using WPMS Site Maintenance Mode for my multisite set up for a while now but the one thing it doesn’t do is allow me to toggle each site on/off as I choose. Both these plugins are more or less all or none type solutions.

      I REALLY needed a plugin that would give me that kind of flexibility and I just came across it yesterday. It’s called Ultimate Coming Soon Page and so far it’s working exactly how I need it to on my multisite setup. I can toggle each site on and off, plus I can log into each site individually when it’s down, which is great because all my domains are mapped. We’ll see if it’s remains stable but so far it’s a very useful plugin for MU.

    • Adam W. Warner says

      Click Plugins–>Look for WP Maintenance Mode–>Then click Settings next to it–>then chose “Disable”…then SAVE settings…

      Hope that helps…

      • kinabuch says

        I can’t able to login back to wp-admin.
        After I activate the plugin, I logout and it totally work. but when i click the “Admin-Login”, it brought me to a page wherein i will login my login details but after that, it brought me again to the maintenance page again and again…
        is there any way to change the PATH of the “Admin-Login” ?? currently it link to

        PLEASE HELP!!!

          • kinabuch says

            thank you for the quick response.
            I think it conflicts on my current plugin im using which is the “theme my login”. I deactivate it and it now works. I can able to login back to my wp backened!
            Thank you!


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