Activating WordPress Maintenance Mode with WP-CLI

In this blog post, we will explore the concept of maintenance mode in WordPress, a useful feature that allows you to temporarily take your site offline while you perform updates, fixes, or other changes.

We will then introduce WP-CLI, a powerful command-line tool for managing WordPress sites, as an efficient method for activating and deactivating maintenance mode.

Our objective is to provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to activate WordPress maintenance mode using WP-CLI, allowing you to manage your website with ease while ensuring minimal disruption for your users.

Understanding Maintenance Mode in WordPress

Maintenance mode is a built-in feature in WordPress that allows you to temporarily make your website inaccessible to visitors while you perform updates, fixes, or other changes.

When maintenance mode is active, your site displays a default message or a custom page to inform visitors that the site is under maintenance and will be back online shortly.

This feature is crucial to ensure a smooth user experience and prevent users from encountering errors or issues while you’re working on the site. There are several situations in which activating maintenance mode can be beneficial, such as:

  • Updating WordPress core, themes, or plugins
  • Implementing significant design or layout changes
  • Fixing bugs or addressing security vulnerabilities
  • Performing site migration or server upgrades
  • Testing new features or configurations in a live environment
  • Benefits of using maintenance mode

Using maintenance mode comes with a variety of advantages:

  • Improved user experience: Maintenance mode prevents visitors from encountering errors, broken pages, or incomplete content while you’re working on the site.
  • Reduced server load: Temporarily taking your site offline can help reduce the load on your server during resource-intensive tasks, such as updates or migrations.
  • Enhanced security: Activating maintenance mode limits the site’s exposure to potential threats while you address security vulnerabilities or perform other sensitive tasks.
  • Professionalism: Displaying a custom maintenance page conveys a sense of professionalism, showing that you care about your users’ experience and the quality of your website.
  • Streamlined workflow: Maintenance mode allows you to work on your site without worrying about the impact of your changes on live visitors, helping you focus on the task at hand.

What is WP-CLI?

WP-CLI, short for WordPress Command Line Interface, is a powerful command-line tool that enables you to manage and maintain your WordPress website without using a web browser.

WP-CLI allows you to perform various tasks, such as installing and updating plugins, managing themes, configuring settings, and much more, all through the convenience of your command line or terminal.

Installing and updating WP-CLI

Before you can use WP-CLI, you need to install it on your local machine or server. To install WP-CLI, follow these steps:

  1. Download the latest release of WP-CLI from the official website (
  2. Make the downloaded file executable and move it to a location in your system’s PATH.
  3. Verify the installation by running the wp --info command in your terminal.

To update WP-CLI, you can use the wp cli update command. This ensures you always have the most recent version of the tool, including the latest features and security updates.

Activating maintenance mode using WP-CLI

Open your command line or terminal and navigate to your WordPress installation directory. Run the following command to activate maintenance mode:

wp maintenance-mode activate

This command will create a .maintenance file in the root of your WordPress installation, which signals to the system that the site is in maintenance mode. By default, WordPress will display a generic “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” message to visitors.

To display a custom message while your site is in maintenance mode, you can create a simple PHP script with the desired content. Create a new file named maintenance.php in your wp-content directory and add the following code:

header('HTTP/1.1 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable');
header('Status: 503 Service Temporarily Unavailable');
header('Retry-After: 3600');
<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>Maintenance Mode</title>
    <h1>Our website is currently under maintenance.</h1>
    <p>We apologize for the inconvenience. Please check back soon.</p>

Feel free to customize the HTML content to fit your needs. The Retry-After header in this example informs search engines that the site will be back online in an hour (3600 seconds).

Verifying maintenance mode activation

To confirm that maintenance mode is active, you can visit your website in a web browser or run the following WP-CLI command:

wp maintenance-mode status

If maintenance mode is active, the command will return “Activated.”

Deactivating Maintenance Mode with WP-CLI

After completing your maintenance tasks, it’s time to deactivate maintenance mode and make your site accessible to visitors again.

Open your command line or terminal and navigate to your WordPress installation directory. Run the following command to deactivate maintenance mode:

wp maintenance-mode deactivate

This command will remove the .maintenance file from the root of your WordPress installation, signaling that the site is no longer in maintenance mode.


In conclusion, WP-CLI provides a powerful and efficient way to manage WordPress maintenance mode.

By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can easily activate and deactivate maintenance mode, ensuring minimal disruption for your users while you work on updates, fixes, or other changes.

As you become more familiar with WP-CLI, you’ll discover even more possibilities for streamlining your WordPress management tasks. Keep exploring and experimenting with WP-CLI to make the most of this powerful tool and maintain your website with ease and professionalism.

Popular Tutorials

Installing WordPress On Your Computer (Localhost) Using XAMPP

If you want to install WordPress on your local computer, you can…

How to Find WordPress Admin Panel Login Link?

The WordPress login URL is the web address that allows you to…

Activating WordPress Maintenance Mode with WP-CLI

In this blog post, we will explore the concept of maintenance mode…

WordPress Conditional Tags

Conditional tags are one of the most powerful features of WordPress. They…

How to Change the Leave A Reply Text in WordPress

Have you ever noticed the “Leave a Reply” text at the bottom…

How to Reset Admin Password for WordPress in PhpMyAdmin

Resetting your password in WordPress via PhpMyAdmin is a simple process that…