When you run a WordPress core update or plugin updates WordPress puts up a maintenance page, that is pretty basic: Black, bold, serif text “Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.” at the top of a blank white page. Straight and to the point, but it can do more for you. As a developer you often need to correct a small bug or logic gap, duplicating a site to do that is often overkill. I mean it’s a “2 minute fix”. Create a custom maintenance page and engage maintenance mode.
How to Create a Custom Maintenance Page
It’s easy to create a custom maintenance page for WordPress that is independent of your theme and safe from core updates. I found this great article by Kevin Leary on how to set one up. To test it out I decided to get a bit creative with it on my site.
It works great, it’s so simple I’m baffled I didn’t think of doing this before. In the future I will be including these pages in all client sites. It’s right up there with creating a custom 404 page or adding your client’s logo to the WP admin login screen. Little details that enhance the experience (or complement it when it isn’t available.) I hope this inspires others to get creative with your sites. Have fun with it, but think about the overall usefulness of the message. This page should do more than the famous easter egg 404 pages of high traffic sites. My site doesn’t need something useful but sites for business do. In that case give them a phone number to call, if you want them to call you. Keep in mind the page is self-contained so it should not pull from the WP database or files from your theme.