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WordPress Support: I Can’t Get Out of Maintenance Mode

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WordPress Support Pages

Design Credo of Exeter have been offering WordPress training and support for some time now and plan to develop this as we move into 2011. Existing support items can be found in the WordPress design page here: this list will be regularly updated.

Can’t Get Out of Maintenance Mode

WordPress is great but occasionally even great things go wrong and usually things going wrong cause un-necessary panic and anxiety. I suspect I won’t be alone in feeling worried when my lovely blog was replaced by a white screen and simple text saying.

Maintenance Mode – SITE is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance. Please try back in…

So what causes this and how do we clear the block?

WordPress is constantly being updated, both the core platform and the add-on plugins. This is sometimes annoying but overall it is a good thing, it is all part of a dynamic and organic entity constantly evolving. Generally updates are done via the ‘dashboard’ (the WordPress user interface) although in most cases updates can be performed manually using FTP.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is a way of sending files from one computer to another, in this instance, from your computer to the server where your WordPress blog is hosted. If you don’t have an FTP program there are many available, we have previously highlighted how Firefox can be added to, allowing it to perform full FTP activities.

Whichever way you choose to upgrade, WordPress disables the site whilst files are being upgraded, and puts itself into Maintenance Mode. This avoids a viewer trying to access a file on the site that is in the process of being replaced, potentially causing a ‘crash’. If the process stalls whilst in Maintenance Mode your blog will continue to be inaccessible. However this is really easy to rectify.

Access your WordPress blog root directory using an FTP client and simply delete the ‘.maintenance’ file (this is an ‘invisible’ file so you will need your FTP client to be set to ‘show invisible files’.) As soon as the file has been removed the blog will once again appear. However you will probably find that the upgrade hasn’t completed so you will need to try again.

What Causes the Maintenance Mode Problem?

To be honest in my case it is usually impatience, I frequently click elsewhere in the dashboard while the site is upgrading. Maybe you have tried to upgrade too many plugins at once and there has been a memory issue.

Finally, occasionally the upgrade patch may have been badly written. If you get the same problem while you are re-trying to upgrade the plugin this may be the case. I have on occasions found this and have left the upgrade for a day or two. You can assume that if lots of people are having the same issue it will get through and will be rectified.

Final Upgrade Tip
If you are upgrading the core eg from WordPress 3.0.3 to 3.0.4 disable all of your plugins before you attempt the upgrade and make sure you WordPress database is backed up. Once the upgrade is finished don’t forget to reactivate the plugins.

Now, it may seem like all of this is a chore but, remember you are part of a rapidly developing community. Good people have done good work that you benefit from, don’t just dip your toes in.

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