I’ve already discussed what causes unplanned downtime and what unplanned downtime might cost a business in a previous article. This post, on the other hand, looks 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.
Regarding planned downtime for WordPress websites, a lot of free options are at your disposal. Many themes and WordPress maintenance plugins would allow you to convey to your reader or visitor that your website is temporarily down due to specific reasons.
Remember that if your website crashes or if your host’s servers aren’t operating, the solutions below won’t be of much help. These are just about putting up a front for your visitors while your developers make changes to your website. Most solutions presented here will help create a new version of the website for public viewing. This will have a message to your visitor about your website being down due to maintenance or being under construction (like a coming soon page).
The following are WordPress maintenance plugins that will help you deal with planned downtime.
Colorlib Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode (Most Popular)
For a quick fix when it comes to creating creative and attention-grabbing coming soon and maintenance mode, we have our own plugin ready for you. First and foremost, it is entirely free of charge. Secondly, it brings to the table many different options and features that will help you create the exact coming soon or maintenance mode page you want. This WordPress maintenance plugin comes ideal when you are busing working on a website redesign or if you would like to start the hype early. Even if you are not live yet or under construction, you can still collect emails and presell your audience.
Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode by Colorlib works with any WordPress theme that you can find available on the market today. It also includes MailChimp integration, custom CSS area and a countdown timer. What’s more, you also get access to fifteen stunning ready-made templates which you can take to your full advantage.More info / Download
Easy Coming Soon
Easy Coming Soon helps 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.
This one also promises compatibility with any WordPress theme and most popular plugins. It is ideal for web developers who are working on web pages on live websites. It provides great social connectivity and a pretty great coming soon template to help you get started.
With this, ensure that the coming soon page is only visible to non-logged-in visitors. Google Analytics support is available with the free version of the plugin. However, this plugin also seems to lack customizability (available in the premium version).More info / Download
Coming Soon Page and 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
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
CMP – Coming Soon & Maintenance
While CMP comes at no cost, it still delivers a whopping amount of premium-like features. This WordPress maintenance plugin is full of amazingness, ensuring you a fast creation of coming soon, maintenance and even other landing page style pages. Indeed, a very versatile and practical tool. On top of that, it is easy to use, perfect for both newbie and advanced users. While it contains a bunch of predefined layouts to choose, you can also improve and adjust them however you see them fit your project best. In some instances, you might just want to add a logo while in all the others, you would want to fine-tune it further.
As far as the features go, CMP offers full-screen backgrounds, MailChimp integration, any WordPress theme compatibility and 3D effects. Besides, CMP is also 100% translatable so you can easily use it with your language.More info / Download
Nifty Coming Soon
If you would like to put together the niftiest coming soon and maintenance pages, well, as the name suggests, Nifty Coming Soon will be the right option for you. First and foremost, the plugin is entirely free of charge, yet the features are very many, delivering an almost premium-like experience. If is free it does not really mean it is half-baked or whatever. No matter which tool you choose from this collection, you get a chance to create a striking outcome.
Core features of Nifty Coming soon WordPress maintenance plugin are responsive and clean design, sixteen background slider animations, countdown timer and animated coming soon text. Moreover, all the sections are fully editable for you to fine-tune your look according to your needs. There is also a preloader, a subscription form and an options to turn off or on any section.More info / Download
Coming Soon by Supsystic
Needless to say, once you download and activate Coming Soon by Supsystic WordPress plugin, you get a chance to create a killer coming soon page in a snap. Thanks to the drag and drop method and several predesigned templates, you will have the desired page up and running in little to no time. You can now show your users and visitors that your website is in the maintenance mode or under construction, bringing something fresh to the world.
The final layout will, of course, be mobile-ready, cross-browser compatible and high performing. The web design is ready for any modifications you would like to perform. Add a subscription form and let everyone know when you are coming back with a countdown timer. Coming Soon by Supsystic also acclimatizes to any modern WordPress theme and fully supports Multisite installs.More info / Download
Site Offline is an excellent WordPress maintenance mode with an option to choose between free or pro version. By all means, start with the free tool first and get the gist of it. Who knows, it may just happen that what you find it offering is more than enough for your short downtime. Or even if you are just about to launch your new project and you would like to start the hype a few days early, Site Offline free plugin might be more than enough.
Now let’s speak about the features. Site Offline is retina-friendly, powered by Bootstrap Framework and becomes visible with just one click. Additionally, you will find CSS3 animations, countdown timer, logo customization, four social profiles and an option to add a background image. Also, setting and configuring Site Offline to your likings will be kids’ stuff.More info / Download
Coming Soon WP
When you have stuff to do on your website that will make you need to take it offline, you don’t just disappear from the online existence. Instead, you go in the under construction or maintenance mode. You keep your presence alive, letting everyone know that you are coming back with something big. Coming Soon WP is a simple to use WordPress maintenance mode that will help you get things done even if you are not tech-savvy.
Upon installation, you turn it on with a click and already be able to put it into play. It comes with many fantastic features and functions that will help you create a brandable coming soon page. In short, you can customize and alter pretty much everything, so do not hesitate and hammer out a layout that will follow your regulations to a T.More info / Download
Minimal Coming Soon and 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
WP Maintenance Mode is 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 and provides a countdown timer if you should need one. Its responsive design works well with subscription and contact forms. A few useful SEO options can help you during any downtime.More info / Download
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.