I’ve already discussed what causes unplanned downtime, what unplanned downtime might cost a business in a previous article. Today, I’ll be looking at how you can tackle some planned downtime. Planned downtime may be due to various reasons such as routine maintenance, new website under construction and possibly even server migration.
When you talk about planned downtime with WordPress websites, there are a lot of free options at your disposal. There are many themes and WordPress maintenance plugins that would allow you to convey to your reader or visitor that your website is temporarily down due to specific reasons.
I think it’s quite crucial to remember that if your website crashes or your host’s servers aren’t operating, these solutions won’t work. I’m only talking about putting up a front for your visitors while your developers make changes to your website. We’re merely talking about a facade for the outer world and nothing more, so if your website does crash then all of the solutions presented below won’t be of much help unfortunately.
Most solutions presented will help create a new version of the website for public view with a message to your visitor telling them that your website is down due to maintenance or the particular webpage in question is under construction (like a coming soon page).
Let’s look at a couple of WordPress maintenance plugins which will help tackle the problems presented by planned downtime.
Ultimate Coming Soon Page
Ultimate Coming Soon Page plugin as the name might suggest, the plugin does a great job of creating a simple coming soon page on your WordPress site. You can make it so, that only logged in users can view and access your website. And for users who aren’t logged in, only a coming soon page would keep them company.
This coming soon plugin can be customized a great deal and the admin can change the background colors, images, font attributes and add custom HTML & CSS for extra customizability. The plugin has been translated into many languages and provides multisite & BuddyPress support.
The plugin also has many features tucked away in the premium version, the plugin creates a secret link for your clients to allow them to continue viewing the upcoming website. There is sufficient search engine optimization with meta tags and the plugin ensures responsiveness. It also has a maintenance mode available, if you should want to use it. In addition to working with all well built WP themes, the plugin also boats compatibility with almost all popular plugins and comes with shortcode support.More info / Download
Easy Coming Soon
Easy Coming Soon will help create a launch page or a coming soon page easily for your WordPress website. The setup process is pretty intuitive and the plugin works its magic once you’ve entered the necessary details for your coming soon page.
Similar to the last plugin, this one too promises compatibility with any WordPress theme and most of the popular plugins. Ideal for web developers who are working on webpages on live websites. The plugin also provides great social connectivity and a pretty great coming soon template to help you get started.
You can also ensure the coming soon page is only visible to non logged-in visitors. Google Analytics support is available with the free version of the plugin unlike the previous plugin. But this plugin also seems to lack the customizability adding custom code offers (available with premium version), which the Ultimate Coming Soon Page plugin has as part of its offerings free of cost.More info / Download
Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode
SeedProd’s plugin is a freemium plugin that offers a lot of choice and helps deal with coming soon pages & also create a facade for website maintenance.
All the features this plugin offers are same as the ones offered by Ultimate Coming Soon Page. This particular plugin seems more like a re-branded version of John Turner’s Ultimate Coming Soon Page plugin. Also the plugin is likely just as good.More info / Download
More info / Download
Simple, straightforward option for web developers and website admins just looking for a temporary solution for web pages under construction. The plugin doesn’t offer much choice or options, but performs the function of displaying an online soon page rather effectively. With it you can add a background image, add a logo and modify the font of the page’s titles to create a highly useful coming soon page.
Much like WPsoonOnlinePage, this plugin too seems to be a relatively simple to use plugin that delivers. It creates a coming soon page which is made visible to all users who are not logged in.More info / Download
Site Offline or Coming Soon
Nifty plugin which can easily enable and disable your site’s offline mode. Using the site offline mode will present a maintenance mode page to regular visitors. Alternatively, you can also use a coming soon page if we’re talking about a new webpage under construction.
You can add custom messages and deliver them to your site’s visitors whilst your website undergoes maintenance or some other work. The primary motivation with this plugin is you can work on your site’s back & front-end and display something acceptable to normal visitors at the same time.
There are quite a number of features reserved for the premium version of this plugin. A fully responsive page template to work with couple with customizability with regards to page title, the header and the background. You can also add a 503 error which will let google’s crawlers know that your website is undergoing scheduled maintenance work. You can also employ Google Analytics Integration the plugin provides to gather data. Apart from all of that, you can add your logo, your own header image, create a new gallery for the background and add HTML content to your coming soon page.More info / Download
Launchpad by Obox
Launchpad is more geared towards developers who are working on new web pages or web sites, the plugin displays responsive coming soon or a down for maintenance page on your site. The setup required for the plugin is minimal and it also helps set a clock on when your website will be active or ready for public viewing.
You can add your own logo and choose from three unique themes designed by Obox’s design team. You can also change your fonts, select one of eleven backgrounds and use the grad & drop feature available to move the layout elements to suit the requirements of your site.
In addition to multiple customization options, you can also make changes from the settings area and add your own custom CSS. And since you would rather connect with your visitors even under these circumstances that would necessitate a plugin such as this one, to enable you to add social icons and a subscription option as well.More info / Download
Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode
A plugin that offers solutions for both websites under construction and a website undergoing maintenance. It is a rather minimal plugin, simple to use and offers a great deal of customization to the user.
The plugin works well with top caching plugins, you can change the page template’s background, the fonts used, the cover image and more. The page elements can be arranged as per your discretion. To enhance the options you have, custom CSS and HTML can be added to modify the plugin. The coming soon page is visible only to non logged in users and the search engines can be allowed to view the website normally.
The level of customization the plugin lends is pretty impressive for a free plugin.More info / Download
A plugin best suited to help web masters deal with websites under maintenance. You can create a 503 service not available and create a temporary page which can be easily edited from the plugin’s settings. The background, the logo in use, the title, headline and pretty much everything else can be modified. You can also selectively exclude pages on which site functions as normal.
More info / Download
The premium version of the plugin also for more customization with regards to the background, the user permissions and the countdown clock.
WP Maintenance Mode
Very similar to the previous plugin and it accommodates the need for maintenance pages and a coming soon page as well. It also works with WordPress multisite which is a very handy feature. It has a great level of customizability, provides a countdown timer, if you should need one. It has a responsive design & works well with subscription and contact forms. It has a few useful SEO options to help you during any downtime.More info / Download
Easy Pie Maintenance Mode
More info / Download
Easy Pie Maintenance Mode is yet another plugin that deals with websites undergoing maintenance. The plugin is rather simple to use and offers great customization options in terms of styling the title, the message & the headline, the logos used and you can even add custom CSS code, if you’d like. Mini themes are available and you can also create your own which is pretty handy to help deal with any down time situation easily.
There is another plugin on offer from Easy Pie for a Coming Soon Page too, you might want to check it out.
IgniteUp – Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode
I like this particular plugin a lot, not only does it have a simple intuitive and modern interface but the background options freely available are easily a cut above the other plugins I’ve so far discussed. Just have a look at the screenshot below, four templates freely available with the plugin.
You can easily enable and disable the plugin’s coming soon or offline mode and select an appropriate template for your website. Search Engine Optimization is an often overlooked aspect, the plugin also makes available enabling 503 header. Add custom CSS and your own favicon.
The logo, the background colors, the text attributes, links, social media profiles, subscription forms can all be modified from the plugin’s settings page. It also offers compatibility with MailPoet and MailChimp plugins. Overall, this is an awesome plugin.More info / Download
The last plugin of my round up -“IgniteUp – Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode” is definitely my pick of the lot. I found it pretty darn difficult and tiresome to get the coming soon pages or the maintenance pages up and running on most of the WordPress maintenance plugins.
Why ? Because creating a coming soon page or a site under maintenance page is pretty difficult for someone who isn’t an expert on web design.
With IgniteUp’s plugin however I never had any such difficulty.
Plugins from Easy Pie, Obox and Seed Prod also offer a few options in the way of ready made templates, but personally preference lies overwhelmingly with IgniteUp’s plugin 🙂
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
If you’d rather use a WP theme to tackle planned downtime, we’ve got that covered too. Do check out Aigar’s write up on top 20 Coming Soon Themes for WordPress.