Learn the Difference Between Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode so You Don’t Make This Mistake

Last updated on: April 23rd, 2018

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode, and when they should be used? There are many WordPress plugins that do one, the other or both. The problem is many users use the two plugins or modes interchangeable when in reality each one has a very specific purpose and can hurt your SEO if you use them wrong.

When to use a Coming Soon Plugin (or mode)

A Coming Soon Page Plugin should be used when a domain is new and you are building out the site. Believe it or not, the head of Google’s Webmaster Team has specifically suggested a “coming soon” page is a good idea. See for yourself.

Adding a Coming Soon page gives you a head start on getting indexed by Google. Plus it’s an ideal time to collect emails from interested visitors. A coming soon page should be a no brainer for anyone creating a new website.

When to use a Maintenance Mode Plugin (or Maintenance Mode)

Maintenance Mode should only be used when your established site is truly down for maintenance. Maintenance Mode returns a special header code (503) to notify search engines that your site is currently down so it does not negatively affect your site’s reputation. Typically you also set a time for the planned maintenance so the Google Bot knows when to return to your site.

Google also stresses that your Maintenance Mode page needs to be useful to users. So you’ll want to communicate why you are down and when you’ll be back up. It’s also a great place to put an opt-in form so you can collect email from users and notify them when you are back up.

Never use a Coming Soon Page for Maintenance Mode or Maintenance Mode for a Coming Soon Page

If you were to use a Coming Soon page when your site was down for maintenance then Google could potentially index that page as your site and this could have detrimental affects on your SEO.

On the other side of the coin if you use Maintenance Mode when you site is launching Google will not index your site.

Google also warns against using Maintenance mode as a permanent solution.

It is important, however, to not treat 503 as a permanent solution: lasting 503s can eventually be seen as a sign that the server is now permanently unavailable and can result in us removing URLs from Google’s index.

I typically only use Maintenance Mode for a day or two at the most.

Final Thoughts

Be sure to use a plugin like SeedProd’s Coming Soon Page Pro which has both a coming soon and maintenance mode when you are launching a website or going down for maintenance respectively. Using the wrong mode could have a major impact on your SEO efforts and cause major headaches for you and/or your client.

About John Turner

John Turner is the founder of SeedProd. He's an Entrepreneur, Web Developer, Marketer, SysAdmin, DBA, Support Tech and can even Cook.

35 Comments

  1. Нина Коваленко on April 27, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Я использую Скоро страницу для интеграции Mail Chimp, мне это нравится.

  2. john_submitter on May 14, 2017 at 12:49 am

    But I need to do about two weeks of maintenance aka complete redesign.

    • John Turner on May 14, 2017 at 6:52 am

      In that case I’d do the redesign in my local development environment then use maintenance mode just to implement it.

      • Torrian Scott on June 8, 2017 at 12:46 am

        HI John, Same Question as JS above, however I am doing a whole rebuild over the course of 60 Days. Will this inhibit subscribers and affect the SEO?

        • John Turner on June 8, 2017 at 5:50 am

          Yep it will, do the rebuild offline and then just take your live site down for a day or two to implement it.

  3. Karen Forgy on May 31, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    I need a coming soon page for only one page of my site how do I do that while keeping my other parts active?

  4. ColorWhistle on June 7, 2017 at 2:24 am

    Ha! Good one. At ColorWhistle, we always follow this best practices with our WordPress website design projects. These plugins are handy. Thank you for sharing this post.

  5. Oliver Shotter on June 22, 2017 at 5:31 am

    Hi, love the plugin!
    Is there any way to allow access to 1 page of my website other than the coming soon page? I want to add a button to the coming soon page which will link to a gravity sign up form hosted on another page of the site. Thanks.

    • John Turner on June 22, 2017 at 7:17 am

      Yep, we have this feature in the Pro Version , is that the version you have?

  6. Lemonfryer on July 24, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    I just created a website last week and i’ve been keeping it in coming soon mode cause I still need to make some changes. I think it will be ready till the end of the week. Is that ok or is it too long?

    • John Turner on July 24, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      Coming soon mode can be as long as you want, maintenance mode is when you want to limit your downtime.

  7. Inês Portugal on July 27, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Hi,
    So my client made a rebrand and will have a new web site but in same domain. It will takes 2 a 3 months until the new site is ready. Witch mode should i use?
    Thanks

    • John Turner on July 27, 2017 at 8:34 am

      Leave the old site live until the new site is ready. Then make the switch. If you put a website in maintenance mode for 2 -3 months search engines will drop your site.

      • Inês Portugal on July 27, 2017 at 11:10 am

        the problem is that the client put already some comunication on streets with the new brand… what about the coming soon mode?

        • John Turner on July 27, 2017 at 11:19 am

          If you put it in coming soon page google will index the coming soon page, if you ok with that then go ahead. They will lose seo on their old site urls. Bottom line is you can’t take a website offline for 2 – 3 months and not to be penalized by search engines to some degree. I would build the site offline then bring the live site down for a day or two to implement the new site when it’s ready.

          • Inês Portugal on July 27, 2017 at 11:23 am

            ok, thanks for your advise! :)



  8. Yusuf on November 16, 2017 at 3:31 am

    Is it possible to use without Pro version? I’m active maintenance mode but nothing happens. After activating the mood care mode. If a plugin updates it, does it open automatically? I did not understand. Please help me.

    • John Turner on November 16, 2017 at 7:55 am

      Yep it works fine in the free version. What’s your url?

      • Jen on December 7, 2017 at 2:36 pm

        I’m having the same problem – I’ve activated the plugin and on my dashboard it says I’m in coming soon mode, but when I search my url (on a different device) the normal website comes up :(
        URL is http://natures-connections.com

        • John Turner on December 7, 2017 at 2:39 pm

          Just clear your hosting cache, there should be a button in the WordPress admin area to do this:
          Here’s a non cached view. http://natures-connections.com/?asdsa

  9. V S Mani on December 28, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Dear John
    The plugin is very useful once the site is published.
    I am going to publish in April 2018 but my site is visible with all contents to others when I have clicked on
    page Draft, Private and published schedule april 2018.
    Need a plug in which shows blank screen to others accessing the site when I am not ready to publish yet. Please help.

  10. Omar Al-Ansari on February 3, 2018 at 12:07 am

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the valuable information. I have a question though. I’m using the free version and have put my site into coming soon mode until I complete its development. At the same time, I am trying to use WordPress rest API to test and debug. The issue here is that I am unable to access the endpoints as they are not available when the site is in coming soon mode. Is there a way around this?

    • John Turner on February 3, 2018 at 8:10 am

      Hi Omar,

      Right now there is not. I’ll have to look into how to exclude the api endpoints. In the pro version you can exclude by ip to allow testing for your site. That’s about the only fast work around i can think of right now.

  11. Pam on February 11, 2018 at 12:02 am

    Is there any way to put an email opt-in button or form to let them know when the site will be live?

  12. Terri Zwierzynski on February 11, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Thank you! I almost made this fundamental mistake and screwed up my Google indexing.

  13. Ahad Arzi on February 16, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Thanks for the information. I really confused to choose the method. But after reading this article, it helps me decide to choose the right one. Once again thanks for the clear info. Keep up the work, guys!

  14. Michael on April 18, 2018 at 4:58 am

    Hi!

    I usually do development on a separate subdomain, presenting visitors a link to the current live site if they stumble across that dev-URL.
    What setting would you suggest for that case?
    (Technically i guess a redirect of some sort would be appropriate, but I dont want any automatic redirects.)

    • John on April 18, 2018 at 7:43 am

      Dev sites I typically protect with a web server directory password like this: http://staging.seedprod.com/

      If the dev site is public make sure you use robots.txt and block all search engines.

  15. emmanuelle on May 17, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    hello,
    I’m finishing my site and choose “Coming soon” mode but I can’t see my site normaly when i’m connected in wordpress.
    Can you tell me if there is something I have to do ?
    Thanks a lot.
    emmanuelel

  16. Janelle on June 9, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    I’ve installed SeedProd’s Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode plugin and enabled Coming Soon mode. The problem is that if users access a page that doesn’t exist on the site they get the 404 Error page which still shows the latest posts that are supposed to be hidden when coming soon is enabled. I could change my 404 page to not show any posts and change it back when I’m ready to release the site but that kind of defeats the purpose of this plugin. Please let me know if you’ve encountered this issue before, thanks!
    Janelle

    • John Turner on June 9, 2018 at 9:49 pm

      Look under the advanced tab and disable default excluded urls!

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