When WordPress goes into maintenance mode your site will display a horrible plain text message which reads
“Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.”
The message is functional but little else. Thankfully you can change it.
Where’s the code?
Open the load.php file which resides in the wp-includes folder.
Scroll down to line 164 as at WordPress Version 3.1 and you will see the following code
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<title><?php echo /*WP_I18N_MAINTENANCE*/'Maintenance'/*/WP_I18N_MAINTENANCE*/; ?></title>
<h1><?php echo /*WP_I18N_MAINT_MSG*/'Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute.'/*/WP_I18N_MAINT_MSG*/; ?></h1>
If the code above doesn’t appear at line 164, it is entirely possible that things could move in future releases of WordPress. In that case just search the load.php file for
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC
This should lead you to the correct code.
As you can see the code is a very simple HTML page.
You can now edit this part of the code, being careful not to edit anything beyond the bounds of the <?php and ?> tags.
You could go as far as to build an entire page there with as much design as you like.
Does anyone else have any cool WordPress tricks?