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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