How to Fix WordPress Error: “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.”

Last updated on May 24th, 2023 at 08:45 am

You’re in the WordPress backend when you notice some plugins need updating. Lots of plugins, in fact. You’ve heard the horror stories, the cautionary tales, the pleas from fellow webmasters to be careful when updating plugins. But there are just so many buttons to click… Unless…

You take the plunge, and before you know it, your Plugins page is awash in little loading symbols as plugin after plugin prepares to update. You’ve selected “Update All.” You have a backup, after all.

And then, despair strikes as WordPress vanishes in a flash of white, revealing a blank page, the only content a small, unassuming error message: “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.”

…And now you’re locked out of WordPress. Your backend is inaccessible and there is no undo button.

Where do you turn?

Right here! Though it can be scary to lose access to your site, the solution is actually pretty simple and only takes a few minutes, even for a beginner!

What’s Happening

Fear not! This isn’t technically even an error. It’s just WordPress doing it’s job!

When you update WordPress or active plugins, WordPress adds a file called maintenance to your site’s file structure to put your site in Maintenance Mode.

When someone loads your site during the update process. they’ll see above message until updates finish and the file is automatically removed.

You might get this error if you:

  • closed your browser during an update
  • updated many plugins and/or themes at the same time and one or more updates stalled.
  • ran into an unknown compatibility error.

While this message appears, no one (including you) can access your site. But don’t panic, because the fix is a cinch!

Photo by Thomas Lefebvre on Unsplash

The Fix:

Step 1

Log into your hosting provider.

(SiteGround, GoDaddy, BlueHost, etc.)

Step 2

Navigate to your file manager.

Step 3

Open > public_html. (The same folder that holds your wp-config.php file.)

Step 4

Locate the maintenance file and delete it. This will take your site out of Maintenance Mode.

Photo by Tim van der Kuip on Unsplash


You’ve fixed the error just like that! Give yourself a pat on the back.

Have you run into another error and want Studio O’Riley to make a post about it? Email your request to and I’ll do my best to oblige! Remember to check back next Monday afternoon for my next post, Site Maps: What They Are and How to Make One for Your Website (2023 Tutorial).

Cheers ‘til next week!

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