Fix WordPress Error: Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance

“Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance. Check back in a minute.” This WordPress error got highlighted on all blog pages and WordPress admin as the site became unaccessible when I performed an automatic upgrade to WordPress to 3.1.1 right now.

Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance

As the WordPress upgrade started, the core update was not completed and the upgrade screen got stuck. The entire site hosted the same text “Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance. Check back in a minute.”. There was no way to access the site or WordPress Admin.

It was scary since I had recently fixed my automatic plugin upgrade errors, by switching to SuPHP. But I had encountered this once before, so I know this was not as serious as it appeared to be. But unless you know the solution, there is no way out.

When WordPress autoupgrades, it inserts a .maintenance file in the WordPress root directory, which displays the message, so people dont see the broken php codes as the site continues to upgrade. Once the WordPress core and database is upgraded, the .maintenance file is deleted and the site comes back online normally. This was an incorporation of WordPress Maintenance mode plugin into the WordPress core.

In some cases, the process gets stuck, and the .maintenence file fails to get deleted. So the same message “Briefly Unavailable for Scheduled Maintenance. Check back in a minute.” keeps displaying.

Delete .Maintenance WordPress File

FTP into your server and login to the WordPress root installation.


Delete the .maintenance file. And your site will come back online. In our case it was stuck pending a database upgrade. As soon as we tried to login to WP Admin, it asked for a database upgrade which completed in one click.

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About the Author: P Chandra is editor of QOT, one of India's earliest tech bloggers since 2004. A tech enthusiast with expertise in coding, WordPress, web tools, SEO and DIY hacks.