Any work on a live site is best performed behind the curtain of a maintenance mode screen. That’s because a half-built live website or a site undergoing maintenance hardly screams professionalism, does it? Unfortunately, we all need to make changes to our websites from time to time. Here’s how to do it.
Maintenance mode is ideal for a wide range of situations, including:
- switching WordPress themes,
- testing plugins,
- fixing website problems,
- making minor cosmetic tweaks.
Activating maintenance mode means that you can work on your website behind closed doors. With this in mind, maintenance mode can also double up as a “Coming Soon” mode, enabling you to build your new website in private.
Today, I’m going to show you how to work in maintenance mode in WordPress using a free plugin: Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd.
The plugin’s name is a bit of a mouthful, I know, but this is because it combines the functionalities of two soon-to-be-defunct plugins: Ultimate Maintenance Mode and Ultimate Coming Soon Page. These are two of the best plugins in their respective fields.
How to activate maintenance mode in WordPress
To turn on maintenance mode, we must first install the plugin. Login to WordPress, then head to Plugins / Add New. Search for “SeedProd,” and the first plugin returned will be the Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode plugin.
Go ahead and click Install Now, then Activate Plugin.
Now, we can start using the plugin. Navigate to Settings / Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode. Here, you’ll be able to activate your maintenance screen – or coming soon screen – in just seconds.
All you need to do is click the Enable Maintenance Mode option, then hit Save All Changes.
Now, as you work on your website, only you will be able to view the changes you are making – visitors will simply see the maintenance screen. You can quickly confirm that you’re working in maintenance mode by glancing at the top-right of the WordPress toolbar.
Of course, at this point, visitors will only see a dull, ugly maintenance screen. You probably want it to look a little nicer, though, right? Fortunately, the plugin is equipped with everything you need to build a great looking maintenance screen.
Start by scrolling down to the Page Settings section. Here, you’ll be able to upload your logo, then use the editor to write your headline and message. You can also choose to give credit to the developers by adding their logo to your maintenance screen – this isn’t compulsory, though.
At the bottom of the settings screen, you’ll see a Header section. This is where you can configure your SEO settings or paste your Google Analytics code. Don’t forget to click save again before moving on to the next tab.
The next step is to click on the Design tab. As the title implies, this is where you can style your maintenance screen.
Options include specifying a solid background color, uploading a custom background image, and adding an overlay to your background to make the text stand out.
Scrolling down the screen, you’ll also find sections for specifying the width of your content area, plus choosing the font face and text color for your content.
You can preview your maintenance screen at any point by clicking on the Live Preview tab at the top – the live preview opens in a separate window.
For more experienced users, you might also want to access the Advanced tab. This is where you can add header/footer scripts to your page, as well as custom HTML.
However, most users – particularly those who are just looking for a simple maintenance screen – won’t need to touch this tab.
Before you finish, remember to save one last time. This will ensure all your changes are applied to the live version of your maintenance screen – the one the visitors will see.
Want to see what mine looks like? Of course you do, and here’s a screenshot:
That took less than five minutes to configure and looks pretty professional, right?
Now you can start working on your website. Logged in users will be able to see behind the maintenance screen, so they can preview their changes without being hampered by it.
Of course, when you’re finished applying your changes, don’t forget to disable maintenance mode. To do this, navigate back to Settings / Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode. Simply set the status to Disabled, then save changes.
Good job! Your website is fully restored, without visitors ever seeing your website in its non-working condition.
The Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode plugin is one of my favorites. The plugin lets you design stunning maintenance screens in just a few minutes, plus you can switch maintenance mode on and off in just a few clicks whenever you need it.
Are you using the Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode plugin? Something else? Share your thoughts in the comments below!