WordPress Error Message Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute. Displayed as below for your website.

Briefly unavailable for for scheduled maintenance
Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance

All the software needs updates, patches during their lifetime, when release by the maintainer or developer or company owning the software, the patches/ updates needs to be applied to the software either manually or automatically depending on the software design. Moreover, that also depends on the Environment the software is being used, policies you follow, if you like to use a specific version, in private or dev/test environment, or you would like to control how updates are pushed to the software you use in production, in tightly controlled environment.  

WordPress provides options to manually update the core-WordPress software, plugins or themes or you can opt-in to automatically update the same without manual intervention. we highly recommend*(more on this later on why) choosing the manual option for your production website & blogs, considering the updates needs to be tested out on our staging first to ensure nothing gets broken for your current production & your website stays up and running serving the visitors.

Whatever option you choose depending on your needs, while WordPress update process “.maintenance” file is created in the website root directory (base folder where wp-admin is located) to ensure that during the upgrade, visitors of your website does not get to broken version of your website and provides appropriate message “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute”.  Which is really a good thing. The “. maintenance” file is removed by the upgrade process once the upgrade process completes successfully, which means your website upgrades are completed & is ready to serve to the visitors.  

The File
The .maintenance file

*Sometimes for multiple reasons software upgrade fails, means WordPress updates fails to apply, hence the “. maintenance” file is not removed automatically. So, your website continues to show the messageBriefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” even after a while. This also prevents you as website maintainer, owner to access the website or admin dashboard. Many times, for this page stays for days or weeks without getting into notice by owner or maintainer, in-turn loosing lots of visitors or business.

The fix:

Fixing “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance Check back in a minute.” for WordPress

To prevent the message “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute” being displayed to visitors, just delete the “. maintenance” file.

The automatic upgrade should be executed again Manually, to ensure the patch or upgrade are applied and software is up to date.

Steps :

Step 1: Connect to your WordPress Site via SFTP or FTP depending your web-host settings

Once you are connected, browse to the directory root of your website if not already in the same.

Step 2: locate the file “.maintenance” and delete the same.

If you are hosting your WordPress on web-host that provides hosting in Linux (true in case of most of the hosts) file names starting with “.” Are hidden files , in your FTP client you will need to ensure you change the settings for the same so you can see the “.maintenance” file in the directory listing shown when connected.

Force showing hidden files in FTP session

Once you have located the file simply delete the file.

Deleting the .maintenance file

Step 3: Check your website in Browser, you should be able to view the site as visitor, access admin area.

Still not able to view the website ? time to recollect where are the backup stored.

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