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If you have been using WordPress for a while, and are staying on top of website updates, you have probably encountered the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.’ message. And you know what this message can do and how annoying it can be.

In this post, we will explain what the previously mentioned message means and WordPress maintenance mode. We’ll also give you a few tips that will help you prevent the message from appearing and how to fix the message if it ever pops up.

Let’s get to it.

What is the meaning behind the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.’ message?

The message that, most likely, popped up on your screen at least once, is there to notify you that WordPress has entered its maintenance mode. But, before we explain the true meaning behind the message, let’s first discuss WordPress maintenance.

WordPress maintenance mode

WordPress, as a Content Management System (CMS), has the so-called ‘maintenance mode’, when it downloads all the necessary update files to your server, extracts them and installs them on your site. This maintenance is automatically implemented by WordPress and is usually really quick一it lasts anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. If you want to check whether WP is entering the maintenance mode, you can navigate to Updates in your WP Dashboard. In there, you can see whether WordPress is enabling maintenance mode or not.

Once the automatic maintenance begins, WordPress creates a file called .maintenance in your site’s root directory. As soon as this happens, a maintenance mode page appears, and your site visitors are displayed the message ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.’ The message is there to prevent anything from happening on your site while updates are being run, so it’s more of a notification than an error message. Once the maintenance is complete, WordPress will automatically remove the .maintenance file. Then the message will disappear, and your website visitors will be able to browse the site normally.

What if the update is complete, but the message is still visible?

In such a case, there must be a deeper issue that you need to investigate. Some of the problems that can cause the message to be still visible are:

– Your server’s slow response time
– A low memory issue
– A maintenance mode plugin
– The maintenance file still has a few files that need to be updated
– You closed the browser tab before the updates were completed

How to fix the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.’ message

If you’re still seeing the notification even after you are sure the updates are complete, there is an issue that needs to be fixed. There must be a reason why the .maintenance file didn’t erase the message. If you don’t have time to bother with the issue and just want the message to be gone, there is a way to stop it from appearing.

The easiest way to delete the message is to take WordPress out of maintenance mode by deleting the .maintenance file. You can use two methods to delete the .maintenance file: using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) client and using the cPanel.

Note: If this is your first time removing the .maintenance file manually, please back up your website. You may not be familiar with the process, and in case something happens, you want to ensure all your site’s files are backed up.

Fixing the notification using an FTP client

Here’s how you can manually take your website out of maintenance mode and delete the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.’ message using an FTP client:
1. Connect to your website’s server using an FTP client.
2. A list of your site’s files will appear under the public_html folder. Find the .maintenance file.
3. Do a right-click on the .maintenance file and select Delete.
4. Return to the browser tab with your website’s domain. Refresh it, and the message should be gone.

If you are having trouble finding the .maintenance file listed in your site’s directory, the file may be hidden. To view all the hidden files, find the option such as Force showing hidden files, turn it on, and you should be able to see it.

Fixing the notification using cPanel

If your hosting provider uses cPanel, you can access your site’s root directory and delete the .maintenance file through the File Manager. The process is the same as deleting the notification using the FTP client.

If you’re not able to find the .maintenance file in the site’s root directory, look for the wp-activate.php file. Once you locate the file, open it and look for the WP_INSTALLING parameter. Change the value of this parameter from ‘true’ to ‘false’. The code line should look something like this: define( ‘WP_INSTALLING’, false ); When you’re done, be sure to save changes. Refresh your website to see if the notification is gone.

How to prevent the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.’ message from appearing

You have to admit, it’s so quick and easy to delete the message. But, instead of stopping the message from appearing every time, we suggest you prevent the error from reappearing in the future. Here are a few tips that can help you with that:

1. Don’t close your browser while WordPress is running updates. If you do this, the .maintenance file will fail to complete the updates.
2. Avoid bulk updates. Update your theme, plugins, and core files separately.
3. Update your hosting plan. If your server storage is low or slow to respond, it will interrupt the maintenance process, so once you resolve the issues of low memory, you will resolve the maintenance issue.

Final thoughts

We hope this post helped you understand the ‘Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.’ message means and why it is appearing. If you are having trouble with WP maintenance mode, feel free to send us an email一we are more than happy to help.

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