Sometimes you have to work on your website, but you don’t want your visitors to visit a website that might be broken. Or you are still working on your new website, and preparing for going live. How do you let your visitors know your website is under maintenance or under construction?
Maintenance or Under Construction?
There is a difference between a website that is undergoing maintenance and a website that is under construction. Maintenance means you have an existing website that is temporarily unavailable, coming soon means this is a new website that will be launched in a certain time. Not only your visitors like to see what is going on, also the search engines like that.
When you set up your maintenance mode correctly, the search engines will get a HTTP response code 503. This means the website is temporarily unavailable and search engines will crawl your site later.
If your website is under construction, you can set up an Under Construction page. With a count down timer, social buttons, newsletter form and a nice layout. Maybe even a preview of the upcoming website. You can set it up as a normal page, which will get a HTTP response code 200, like any other available page. It will get indexed by the search engines and is recommended by Google. Do you set it up with a HTTP response code 503, the search engines will crawl it later and your Under Construction page will not get indexed.
How to set it up?
There are several ways to set up a Maintenance or Under Construction page. With some coding skills, you can do it without any plugin. But most people will use a plugin.
I will use a plugin to set up a Maintenance mode page. The popular plugin is called Maintenance (…) and is the free version, which has over 400.000 active installations.
After that I will show you how you can set up your Maintenance or Under Construction pages with Elementor!
Installing the plugin
As usual, you can download the plugin from WordPress.org and install it manually, or add it with the Plugins – Add New menu option in the admin area. Search for Maintenance, and you get a long list of plugins. Install the Maintenance plugin and click on “Activate”.
After installing you will have an extra menu option called Maintenance. Click on it and you will get the settings screen.
Configuring the plugin
This is the only settings screen this plugin has. Configure the options as you want.
A very handy option is the frontend login. No need to go to the backside to login.
Also very nice: you can exclude pages and posts from being blocked by the maintenance mode. Visitors can still see these pages or posts. This can be useful to set up a page with your own layout as a Maintenance Mode page, rather than the somewhat limited options of the plugin.
Are you finished settings up your Maintenance page? Just click on the switch on top of the settings page, save the changes and you’re done! Now open another browser and have a look at your Maintenance Mode page.
This is what your Maintenance Mode will look like when you use the default options. Notice the lock on the right side of the screen. Click on it and you will get a nice login form.
The Maintenance Mode in Elementor
Do you use Elementor as your page builder? Then you won’t need a separate plugin to set up the Maintenance or Under Construction mode. Elementor (free as well as Pro) has its own options.
To use this option, you first have to create the necessary template(s). Create the template you want by using Elementor. It will be saved under Elementor – My templates.
In the admin menu, look under Elementor – Tools and then the tab Maintenance Mode. Here you can select the mode (Disabled, Maintenance or Under Construction), who has access and which template to use.
Setting up a Maintenance Mode or Under Construction page isn’t difficult. You can use several (free or paid) plugins, depending on your needs. A page builder like Elementor has the options already built in. Make sure the visitors to your website and the search engines that want to crawl it are aware of what is happening. Even when in maintenance mode or under construction you can please your visitors and make sure they will come back for more!