So for some reason you want to put your WordPress site in maintenance mode, right? It could be for various reasons.
You might be working on an upgrade on your site. You might be doing some design changes. You might be fixing some misbehaving script on your site. Or may be your site is not yet ready for the public.
If your site already has content and if it is already live, and accessed by people, suddenly doing an upgrade or breaking things in the core files could cause major embarrassment.
You might create temporary 404 errors in BULK. And that is not good for your site’s SEO (it takes a while for those errors to go away from Google’s cache even if you fix them!).
So when you are doing something critical in the backend and don’t want the world to know about it, the best option is to put your site in maintenance mode.
So how do you put your WordPress site in Maintenance Mode?
Well there are quite a few options. The easiest way is to go for a plugin.
I usually don’t recommend plugins so easily, because plugins are generally additional load to websites. They can cause speed issues; and other unwanted vulnerability issues if they are not updated properly.
But given that this is a temporary requirement I would suggest you to go easily. I certainly believe that you don’t need to have your site in maintenance mode for days or months together.
So installing a plugin for this temporary requirement and uninstalling it after the job is done is a great way to go.
Things to take care of when you create your “Maintenance mode” page
Well, the purpose of the maintenance mode page is to let your users know that your site is down for maintenance at the moment.
It tells your readers that you are doing something behind the screens and you’ll be back up soon. That’s it. Simple.
But that doesn’t mean you should just have one line of text on that page – that will make it pretty boring. Sure the message is conveyed, but it is boring, right?
What else could you do to make that page interesting and engaging?
One option is to add a sign up form! Your site could still generate leads even while in maintenance mode.
You could say that your site is under maintenance in an interesting, engaging way rather than the boring “Site under maintenance” message – you could tell the readers what they should expect after this is over.
Email marketing course is brewing behind the curtain and there has been a problem with the coffee maker. We are fixing it. You’ll get your coffee soon!
One more thing you could add is a countdown timer. Instead of letting people see a blank message and giving them no clue when you’d get back, you can add a countdown timer so people can know when your site will be back.
This increases the chance of people coming back to your website around the right time.
Last but not the least, you can get creative and add funny images or text to make people remember you.
What plugin should you use to activate WordPress maintenance mode?
Well there are lots of plugins for the purpose, but I will point you very few that work so you are not overwhelmed.
WP Maintenance mode
This plugin is simple yet effective! Here are its features:
- Fully customizable (change colors, texts and backgrounds);
- Subscription form (export emails to .csv file);
- Countdown timer (remaining time);
- Contact form (receive emails from visitors);
- Coming soon page;
- Landing page templates;
- WordPress multisite;
- Responsive design;
- Social media icons;
- Works with any WordPress theme;
- SEO options;
- Exclude URLs from maintenance.
Ultimate maintenance mode
This is also a good plugin. Here are its features:
- Works with any WordPress theme
- Allows you to work on your site while non logged in visitors see the Maintenance Mode page
- Automatically Creates a Screenshot of your Website and uses it as the background for your maintenance mode page.
- Ability to add a Custom Headline, Message & Background Image
- Returns a 503 http status and retry header so search engines know your site is down.
- Simple and Easy to Use
- Multisite Support
- Translation Ready – i18n Support
In my honest opinion, you don’t have to think too much about which plugin to choose. Since putting the site in maintenance mode is a temporary thing. And you don’t need any fancy features on the plugin.
Let us know how which plugin you use to put your site in maintenance mode. Also let us know if you have any creative ideas to use in the maintenance mode notification page!