My quest for the perfect WordPress maintenance mode plugin

There was a day when WordPress maintenance mode plugins were simple little things designed by developers for developers, and these little gems were very useful. Then marketers got involved.

Today the WordPress maintenance mode plugin space is a wasteland of shit. In that pile of steaming stuff, you’ll find plugins that do everything but what a respectable maintenance mode plugin should – they’re pushing you upsells and ads and layouts and countdown timers when all you really want is a fucking white screen with “down for scheduled maintenance” text to show up for people who aren’t logged in. By comparison, here’s what the maintenance mode plugin within WordPress core looks like (you’ll see it when updating plugins or a theme):

WordPress’ default maintenance mode view; clearly built by and for developers

That’s why I built and freely share my TMM Maintenance Mode WordPress plugin – a distinctly HELPFUL and free maintenance mode plugin that I’ve been using for over 7 years and counting. Here’s the complete list of features:

  1. No options. Just activate and done.
  2. Hides the site from anyone who isn’t logged in – see screengrab below.
  3. A bright red favicon and bright red WP admin bar background color to indicate that your site is in maintenance mode (to prevent me from accidentally editing a LIVE site…which I’ve sadly done many many times) – see screengrab below.
  4. Zero setup integration with Andy Fragen’s fantastic Github Updater plugin for easy updating.
  5. No ads or spam or shit like that.

That’s it. Simple, effective, and useful! What else would you want in a maintenance mode WordPress plugin?

Want it to say something else or display your logo, just fork the project on Github or edit the files in your install accordingly (there’s only 30 lines of actual code, all contained in a single php file, in this efficient little elf).

Notes:

There are 469 “maintenance mode” plugins in the WP.org repository.

If you search for “maintenance mode” on wordpress.org, you’ll find 469 free plugins that match that query. Do we really need 469 fucking WordPress maintenance mode plugins?!

469 WordPress maintenance mode plugins in search

Here’s what you’ll see after installing the “#1 Maintenance Mode” plugin from wp.org:

Above: Here’s what you’ll see after installing “The #1 Maintenance Mode Plugin” – a BEAST of a plugin by SeedProd

Just what I always wanted: a WordPress maintenance mode plugin with…”Smart Sections”, “Drag & Drop Page Builder”, “Landing Page Templates”, and “Premium Integrations”! Fuck you, SeedProd.

Oh, and SeedProd’s Maintenance Mode plugin also has “Growth Tools”! Fuck yeah – just what I always wanted while I’m hiding my site from public view – Growth Tools! *Snark Implied*

SeedProd Maintenance Mode wordpress plugin’s admin menu options include Growth Tools!

Have your own WordPress maintenance mode plugin horror stories to share? I’d love to hear them!

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Toby Cryns

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