Let’s assume you have a long-standing WordPress site that garners a significant amount of traffic. Or perhaps you are a new website owner excited about letting others know that you will be up and running in the near future. In either case, what do you do about visitors who might attempt to view your page only to get a ‘404 page not found’ error? You install a maintenance mode plugin.
Using a maintenance mode plugin allows you to temporarily take your site down so you can work on it while still giving visitors a landing page that lets them know you are not out of business. While in maintenance mode, you can view your website (as the administrator) just as visitors would see it if it were live. You can work on it as long as you like, then make your site live simply by deactivating the plugin.
There are quite a few maintenance mode plugins to choose from; here are some of the best:
1. WP Maintenance Mode (Designmodo)
WP Maintenance Mode is easily one of the most popular such plugins with more than 400,000 active installs. This is an all-purpose plugin with a lot of functionality. It offers full customization (including backgrounds and different fonts), a countdown timer, responsive design, a multi-site feature, and a subscription form your users can submit if they want to receive an e-mail when your site is live again.
2. Maintenance (Fruitful Code)
Fans of the Maintenance plugin from Fruitful Code appreciate its simplicity. It is not as feature-rich as WP Maintenance Mode, but it gets the job done. It offers customization, the ability to add a title and text, the option to upload your logo, and a login link so you can get in without having to navigate directly to the WordPress login page.
3. Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode (maintenance mode GG)
With more than 40,000 active installs, this plugin is another one of the more popular of its type. Perhaps the most important feature is the ability to enable or disable the plugin for specific IPs. This is a helpful feature for WordPress developers who may host multiple sites on the same server. Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode is also highly configurable and easily integrated with social media for updates and announcements.
4. Easy Pie in Maintenance Mode (Bob Riley)
If you want a simple plugin with no fuss, Easy Pie Maintenance Mode is what you are looking for. It is so simple that anyone can use it. The downside is that Easy Pie is not rich in features or highly configurable. The upside is that it is activated with the click of a mouse. The plugin presents an attractive landing page, with your choice of themes, that tells visitors your site is temporarily down for maintenance.
Installing a maintenance mode plugin may not seem necessary at first, but you will quickly understand how valuable such a plugin is should your website be down for a significant amount of time for maintenance. Use a plugin. You’ll be thankful you did.