Last modified: October 21, 2016

You are working on your website and during this period you are afraid anybody who visits your website may see an unfinished or broken version of your website or may come across any server default page like 403, 503 or 404, which a visitor may not take well. You don’t want to let it happen. So, in that case it is a very good practice to setup a maintenance mode page to let visitors know that you are still working on the website and it will be available soon.

In another but similar scenario, while making major changes to your website, you should set up a maintenance page instead of letting your visitors to see your website when it is under maintenance.

Maintenance mode tells Search Engines that website is temporarily down (HTTP 503) and will be back after some specified time. This way search engines leave the site uncrawled and set a crawl delay. If you don’t implement maintenance mode in a  proper way, your website pages may return a 404-not-found error to search bots. 404 protocol tells search engines that the crawled page is either lost or removed and search engines instinctively remove that page. Once removed, it may take a long time for search engines to re-index the page.

Maintenance Mode WordPress 2

Video Tutorial – Setup Coming Soon / Maintenance Mode with SeedProd Plugin for free

How to apply SEO friendly maintenance mode in WordPress without a plugin

Create a file maintenance.php in WordPress root folder

Enter the following code;

<?php
$protocol = “HTTP/1.0”;
if ( “HTTP/1.1” == $_SERVER[“SERVER_PROTOCOL”] )
$protocol = “HTTP/1.1”;
header( “$protocol 503 Service Unavailable”, true, 503 );
header( “Retry-After: 3600” );
?>

Now open your .htaccess file and add the following code to it;

# MAINTENANCE-PAGE REDIRECT
<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} !^123\.456\.789\.000
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/maintenance.php$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !\.(jpe?g?|png|gif) [NC]
RewriteRule .* /maintenance.php [R=302,L]
</IfModule>

 

That’s all. We have successfully set up a maintenance mode. But it will work only for search engines.

Is there any difference between Coming Soon mode and Maintenance Mode

When your website is in making and is yet to be launched, it is called a coming soon website. You can get a simple text message, or/and a countdown timer, or/and social follow buttons etc. to display on your coming soon page. But you can do it all for a website under maintenance too. Then, what exactly is the difference? Actually coming soon page may be a normal page with HTTP protocol 200 or a page with HTTP protocol 503.

If a coming soon page is set with response code 503, it will not be indexed by search engines. Search engines take it as a site under maintenance/construction, which will be live soon. On the other hand if a coming soon page is set as a normal HTML page with response code 200, search engines will index it and consider it a coming soon website. Google recommends using a coming soon page (with response code 200) for a website that is yet to be launched.

But you must use maintenance mode with HTTP response code 503 when you are doing maintenance of your website at backend. 503 response simply tells search engines that website is down for some reason and will be live shortly.

In this article I introduce to you some great and handy maintenance-mode and coming-soon plugins.

Maintenance Mode Page by WP Shopmart

It adds HTTP 503 header

Coming Soon Plugin by WP Shopmart

When it comes to the free maintenance-mode plugins, this one is at the top of the list. More likely the company is promoting its new plugin as all premium features are available in the free version. This plugin may become paid in near future. But as it is, we are lucky as undoubtedly it is the best free maintenance mode plugin with the following cool features in it;

  • Countdown timer
  • Logo upload
  • Static or slider background
  • Social follow buttons
  • Email signup form (WordPress mail)
  • Text color and typography options
  • Contact inform widget

Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd

Recommended

HTTP 503 header is optional

Maintenance Coming Soon by SeedProd

It offers  strikingly more options to embellish the look-and-feel of maintenance page in comparison with other plugins. With SeedProd plugin, you have two different modes to set up: Coming-Soon Mode and Maintenance Mode. If your website is not yet launched, you should select Coming-Soon mode and if your website is down for maintenance, keep it in “Under Maintenance” mode.

Please note that the visitors see a blank page until you add a logo and some text to your maintenance page.

Pro version – Pro version of SeedProd sells with lots of more features, which are not available with other plugins;

  • Countdown timer, Email subscribe form, video background, Social Follow buttons
  • Content animation and effects
  • Landing page addon
  • Integrate to over 10 email marketing services including ActiveCampaign, GetResponse and Sendy
  • Integrate to Gravity Forms
  • Referral Tracking
  • Allow someone to access coming soon website via a secret key

Download

Maintenance by Fruitful Code

HTTP 503 header is optional

Maintenance by Fruitful Code

This plugin is available in free and premium form. The free version can set up a quick coming-soon, under-construction or maintenance mode. It is very easy to use and anyone can put his website on the maintenance mode by just activating the plugin. Free versions allow us to change maintenance page background, logo, Page title, description, footer text etc. We can also add our own custom CSS. Beautiful slide-in login widget is another cool feature of this plugin.

Pro version features – Background slider, Countdown timer, email subscribe form

Download

Maintenance Plugin by WP Dev Art

It adds HTTP 503 header

Maintenance Plugin by WP Dev Art

Maintenance Plugin by WP Dev Art is much the same as the above plugin. Its free version comes with essential options for maintenance mode such as background image setting, page title, description and social follow buttons. However, it lacks login widget in free as well as in premium version. IP and page level mode is also available

Its pro version is highly advanced and seems to be very attractive. Pro version comes with lots of features such as:

Pro features –  Background slider, background video, countdown timer, email subscriber form, progress bar etc..

Download

Maintenance by Lukas Juhas

Under Maintenance by Lucas Juhas

It adds HTTP 503 header

It is a completely free Maintenance plugin, that comes with just an HTML/text block where you can add your own custom HTML and CSS or just simple text. This plugin is suitable for those who just want to tell that their website is under construction or maintenance as well as for an advanced user who wants to add his own custom HTML code.

Download

Maintenance Mode by 69 Signals

It adds HTTP 503 header

Maintenance Mode by 69 Signals

It is a free plugin for setting up a maintenance mode and a coming-soon mode. Currently it doesn’t have any paid version and it comes with limited options to customize. With the help of this plugin, you can add a logo, background and favicon to your maintenance page. You can also add an email signup form and integrate it with your Mailchimp account for free. It comes with an innovative feature, that is you can enable maintenance mode for visitors but keep it disabled for search engines. Wonderful, isn’t it?

As it is, this plugin supplies many options in its free version such as progress bar, social icons, background.

Download

Anticipate (by Elegant Themes)

It adds HTTP 503 header

Anticipate Plugin

Anticipate is a maintenance mode and a coming-soon mode plugin with options to add logo, text, progress bar and email form and social follow buttons (Facebook and Twitter only) to your maintenance mode page. Compared to other maintenance mode plugins, it is quite basic.

Those who are using Elegant Themes’ products like Divi Builder, Monarch etc. can download and use it for free. Note – Elegant Themes sells all products with the caveat of membership and additional charge is applicable for individual themes and plugins.

Download

About Shams

Shams, a professional blogger, has expertise in WordPress and Web Hosting. He is used to playing around with WordPress plugins, themes, web hosting services and some other innovative stuff regarding web design. He sifts out good stuff for web designers and reviews it to help them choose what they really need.

Being an energetic tech enthusiast, he regularly pens down breaking news and tutorials related to technology particularly Smartphones and other gadgets. Sometimes writes tech tips too. It was the dawn of Internet age when he started dabbling in it and has since been delving into the realm of the internet. He occupies a permanent burrow in virtual world.

He can be reached at.- here

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