Published by on May 20, 2020 • 0 Comments • Lire en Français

“This webpage is not available”. Here is every webmaster's nightmare. Just reading this sentence, I'm sure you feel a little panicky, right?

Next thing you know, your phone rings. On the other end of the phone, your client. He's pissed off. He asked you to make some additions to his site. You stuck to it in a hurry.

And you just made a mistake. The reason? You missed a fundamental step.

The look on your client's face when his site crashed.

If only you had bothered to set up a “Website under construction”, or “Site under maintenance” page before tinkering.

I think you all agree with me that it's a necessary step, right? Don't worry, it can happen to anyone.

Good news is that it's possible to avoid this issue – whether you are a webmaster or not, by the way – by using a WordPress Coming Soon plugin.

Now you're probably wondering, “Yeah, but which one?”

You should find what you're looking for in today's blog post. I'm going to present you 8 must-have plugins on the topic. You will often come across them as “Coming Soon”, or “Maintenance”.

I tested these 8 plugins one by one. Strengths, weaknesses, ease of use, price: I'll explain it all to you.

And as a bonus, I'll show you my favorite ones. So stay focused.

Why and how to use a Coming Soon plugin

When should I use a WordPress Coming Soon plugin?

In general, there are three use cases:

  • Before officially launching a WordPress site or blog. This way you can work quietly and do your tests without exposing it all to your visitors. In short, you will disable your WordPress site, for them, and set up what is called a “coming soon site”. Understand: a site whose launch is imminent.
  • To carry out modifications on a site already in production. You will then create a WordPress maintenance page. The typical example is the one developed in the introduction: when one of your customers wants to make changes to their site, or update it.
  • Before performing important updates such as installing a new version of WordPress, a plugin or a theme.

The easiest way to put your site under construction is to use a plugin.

If you master the code, nothing prevents you from creating a custom one, to display a site under construction with HTML. But you're going to spend a lot more time there.

Another option, to display your WordPress, is maintenance without a plugin. But right now, I'm talking to the best coders among you.

Finally, there are themes that offer ready-made WordPress Coming Soon page templates. There are hundreds and hundreds of them on the market, it is impossible to list them all here.

Without forgetting the famous page builders such as Divi, Beaver Builder, Elementor or Visual Composer. All of them offer page templates of sites under construction.

The keys to a good Coming Soon page

At the end of this article, you will be able to choose the plugin that suits you best.

It will allow you to create a personalized page that will be displayed to visitors of your website/blog.

That's great. But concretely, what should you put on this page?

A WordPress site under construction should contain :

  • A launch date: you can use a countdown timer for this.
  • Icons pointing to your social networks to encourage sharing.
  • An email capture form to generate leads (potential customers).
  • A design in accordance with your graphic charter (logo, font, colours etc.).
  • A remarkable call to action button. This can be, for example, a “Subscribe” button, leading to the newsletter.

Now, I suggest we move on to the test phase.

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10 WordPress Coming Soon plugins put to the test

As you can imagine, there are hundreds of plugin to create a page for a site under construction.

Alex and I have chosen to introduce you to ten of them. I first conducted research to group together the most recurring ones. Then, I made a second selection based on 2 criteria:

  • Updated less than 6 months ago.
  • At least 20,000 active installations.

The links of the paid plugins below will most often be affiliate links. That is to say that if you buy one of these plugins, WPMarmite will get a commission. Beyond rewarding the research work, it allows us to buy licenses for the plugins we are testing for you. But beware: this selection contains both free and paid plugins. We remain impartial. And we don't hesitate to criticize paid extensions that are bad. Even if we don't win anything in affiliation, that's the name of the game.

1. Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd

Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd

Active installations: 1 million+

The champion. The king. Number one. Call him whatever you want. Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode is THE WordPress “Coming Soon” plugin.

The one with the most important number of active installations, according to the official WordPress directory. You read it right: over a million of them.

His critics? Even if you look hard enough, you're gonna have a hard time finding any. Out of 3,823 reviews registered at the time of writing this article, 3,762 people had given it a maximum rating of 5 stars.

Brad, my collegue at WPMarmite, is one of the best salespeople for this plugin. “He does me a favour on every site I launch,” he explains. Super complete, it has never stopped improving (with a very big overhaul last year). Anyway, good.”

Let's dive into the paid version of this extension to check this out.

The good points of Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd

  • The countless options offered: all the basics of a good WordPress Coming Soon page are there: contact form, background customization, adding a counter, social network buttons, SEO and CSS management. You can also go much further thanks to numerous animation effects.
  • Ease of use: the plugin is very easy to use. The drag and drop system to manage the location of its sections (titles, logos, forms etc.) is well done.
  • The real-time page builder.
  • The ready-made demos – with superb design – to speed up the process of creating your Coming Soon page.
  • The ability to create a secret URL for your client to access his site under construction. How awesome, to show the progress of a project!

What I liked less

  • “I would have liked the plugin to use the customizer rather than a home-made interface,” Alex had explained to me before this test. I'm validating his point of view. Note also: the builder's rather austere interface.
  • The “Referrer tracking” option is aptly named: it is quite fuzzy. It's supposed to reward people who push others to sign up to make your launch as viral as possible. It's interesting, but using this feature is not that simple.

Quick Recap

Brad, you didn't lie to me 😉 Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode does the job very well. Not to be missed in the paid version (starting at $29), it works with all WordPress themes.

Warning: if it does good services in free version, it is necessarily (much) more limited (no builder, no social network buttons, no Google Fonts, no contact form). To generate leads, go premium.

2. WP Maintenance Mode

WP Maintenance Mode

Active installations: 700,000+

After the famous Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd, I present to you another giant of the sector: WP Maintenance Mode.

The latter has no less than 700,000 active installations. On the other hand, it is rated less well (4.5 stars out of 5) than its competitor and does not have a paid version.

The good points of WP Maintenance Mode

  • The essential features are there: contact form, countdown timer, social network buttons, newsletter subscription.
  • The chatbot: a kind of virtual assistant that offers to collect your email address to let you know when the site is launched, or is back after a short maintenance time. That's original. As far as efficiency is concerned, we remain a little dubious, because it's quite intrusive. Judge for yourself.
The WP Maintenance Mode chatbot option

What I liked less

  • The absence of a preview button. If you wish to see the look and feel of your WordPress Coming Soon page, you must log out of your site or open the page on another browser. Not very easy to do, when you're making changes.
  • It is not possible to change the element's location with the plugin. By default, the countdown is set before social networks, for example. If you want to change this, you will have to go through the code.
  • There are fewer customization options. You can change the color of the text – and that's more or less all.

Quick Recap

For a free plugin, WP Maintenance Mode is quite complete. Nevertheless, we regret not having complete control over the design of the page. It is also less intuitive than the Seed Prod plugin.

3. Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode

Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode

Active installations: 80,000+

“A perfect Coming Soon page done in minutes.” This is what WebFactory, the developer of this plugin, offers.

I won't hide it from you: I was attracted by this promise, as well as by the superb templates displayed on the WordPress directory download page.

Other advantages of Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode: it claims to be “simple + flexible”, and quick and easy to set up.

The good points of Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode

  • The preview button of the Coming Soon page from the admin.
  • The possibility to collect the email addresses of your visitors via Mailchimp. A rare option among the free plugins.
  • You can choose the order of appearance of your elements (logo, text, form etc.) via a drag and drop builder, and integrate your own HTML code.
The Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode plugin's real-time builder
Preview of the plugin's real-time builder

What I liked less

  • There are only 2 themes available for free. Nevertheless, you can change the background with a photo of your choice.
  • You can only display a contact form if it is linked to a Mailchimp account.
  • The useful options for any good “Coming Soon” page (social networks, countdown timer, progress bar etc.) are only available in the Pro version.

Quick Recap

The admin interface is pleasant to use and user-friendly. The plugin bears its name well enough: it remains minimalist. It is more suitable for use in maintenance mode.

For a site under construction unavailable for several days, the free version remains too light because it lacks essential options. For your information, the Pro option starts at $19/year.

4. Maintenance

The WordPress Maintenance plugin

Active installations: 400,000+

In life, there are 2 categories of developers: 

Those who make a point of giving remarkable names to their plugin. Isn't that true, Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd

And those who play it minimalist. Isn't that right, the men and women behind Maintenance?

This minimalism, we also find it on the admin of his WordPress. Once the plugin is installed, you will find just a simple Settings page. Quite confusing.

But still, you can customize the minimum required elements (text, logo, background, colours, fonts).

Maintenance's customization settings

For those who want more options, especially to create a “Coming Soon” page, you'll have to get your hands dirty. Good thing we tested Maintenance Pro for you ($25).

The good points of Maintenance

  • 4 different styles to customize the countdown.
  • (Extreme) ease of use.
  • The HTML editor. Thanks to it, you will, for example, be able to integrate a video in a pop-up window thanks to a YouTube embed code, for example.
  • The option to create a slideshow or add a video in the background.
  • The possibility for a visitor to log in to the site directly on the page, provided that he or she has been given user access. Ideal to show the progress of your work to a client.
An example of a good WordPress Coming Soon page
A nice example of a page from a French site under construction.

What I liked less

  • Mandatory activation of the free version in order to use the paid version.
  • There are only 3 services available to create an email-capture form (Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, Get Response). Without having an account on one of them, goodbye opt-in form.
  • Some options are missing to customize the colors of the contact form and the social network buttons.

Quick Recap

A really nice plugin. The free version is already great to work on the maintenance of your WordPress site. For a WordPress Coming Soon page, you will have to switch to the paid version.

Its strong point is that it offers essential functionalities, without making the use of the plugin complex.

5. Under Construction

The WordPress Under Construction plugin

Active installations: 400,000+

Are you looking for something to delight your visitors? Stay over there, I've got what you need in stock.

Under Construction, developed by Web Factory, the author of Minimal Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode, stands out by the design of its themes (backgrounds of your Coming Soon or Maintenance page).

Impossible to not recognize them, with their vectorial appearance. They're beautiful. Take a look at this example on my test site, below.

An example of a WordPress Coming Soon Page made with this plugin

I prefer to warn you: limiting this plugin to its visual rendering would be simple.

And not only because it is extremely well rated (5 stars out of 5). I suggest you find out why.

The good points of Under Construction

  • The graphic originality of the themes.
  • The number of themes available in the free version: 29 in total.
  • The ability to include social network buttons.
  • Ease and simplicity of use: it only takes a minute to create your page.
  • Ability to automatically deactivate the maintenance page at a desired date.

What I liked less

  • No contact form, no countdown: the essential options are missing from the free version. As opposed to its competitors.

Quick Recap

A nice surprise. I didn't know anything about Under Construction before I tested it.

In the free version, it’s the plugin I found the most pleasant to use. For some façade restoration on your site, it will be perfect.

The Pro version looks very promising. Problem: its price. It starts at $69, even though it's a lifetime license.

But it can be a good deal, as it offers more than 100 templates and a drag and drop builder that allows you to create your own landing pages. If you use it, tell me all about it.

6. WP Maintenance

WP Maintenance plugin

Active installations: 30,000+

Let's now discover a totally made in France plugin.

Florent Maillefaud, the plugin's developer, had made a detailed tutorial about it on WPMarmite, in 2014 (for you French speakers out there). Here is what he said at the time: “the idea to create this plugin is the result of an unsuccessful search for a simple, free, maintenance plugin, available in French and without ads.”

Nearly 4 years later, the plugin is still prevalent. It is regularly updated and improved. That's the first sign of seriousness.

Thanks to WP Maintenance, you will be able to create a personalized waiting page to maintain your site, or a Coming Soon page it before its launch.

The good points of WP Maintenance

  • The integration of the plugin's settings in your WordPress Dashboard.
WP Maintenance plugin admin settings
  • User-friendly and lightweight interface.
  • The presence of a Codemirror script to better view the CSS code and customize it.
  • The ability to add a slideshow of images.

What I liked less

  • It's impossible to preview a page's appearance in the WordPress administration for logged-in administrators.
  • It lacks a contact form to retrieve the email addresses of its visitors.

Quick Recap

WP Maintenance is a simple and effective plugin. Pleasant to use in back-end thanks to a simple interface, it offers almost all the essential options for a good “Coming Soon”: countdown timer, social network buttons, adding a logo, etc.

Not forgetting the activation of Google Analytics or an insert for a newsletter.

7. Coming soon and Maintenance mode

WordPress Coming soon and Maintenance mode

Active installations: 20,000+

Let me tell you right away: using the free version of this plugin leads to a lot of frustration. On most of the settings you will find the following sentence in green: “Pro feature!”. Translation: pay $14 to be able to test these features.

Coming soon and Maintenance mode settings

Pretty annoying. So I tried the Pro version. Just to stop whining.

The good points of Coming Soon and Maintenance Mode

  • The interface is easy to use thanks to a drop-down menu system.
  • Forty animation effects to apply to your logo, title or text (fade, bounce, zoom, rotate, etc.).
  • The possibility to integrate a registration form or your social networks.

What I liked less

  • The basic design is, let's say, quite original…
An example of a page created with the Coming soon and Maintenance mode plugin
  • The retrograde side of the interface that gives an old-fashioned impression.

Quick Recap

This plugin leaves a strange impression. On the one hand, you are satisfied because you can do almost anything: insert your logo, text, a countdown timer, a progress bar, a form to capture emails, manage SEO, integrate your social networks. All this for barely a dozen dollars.

Seems cool, right? Well, on the other hand, we can't seem to get excited about it.

Especially because the visual rendering is not very well designed. Too bad. Afterall, it remains very subjective. Feel free to test and give me your feedback.

8. WP Maintenance Mode / Coming Soon Page Builder

WP Maintenance Mode / Coming Soon Page Builder

Active installations: 10,000+

Hammer in the left hand. A wooden plank in the right hand. A blue onesie with a smile up to the ears: the little guy in the picture above has already managed to catch my attention.

Now, that doesn't make a plugin effective. To evalute that, I put it to the test. This is my final analysis.

The good points of WP Maintenance Mode / Coming Soon Page Builder

  • The colorful interface with dynamic buttons with rounded edges.
  • Fast installation, even if this is due to the fact that almost nothing can be set up.

What I liked less

  • Too few options available in the free version. You will often come across the following message: Buy the Pro version here. You won't be able to set up a form to capture emails, a countdown timer, choose the color of your text, etc.
  • There is only one theme available and you can't change its background by including an image of your choice. The other 5 themes are accessible via the paid option.
Here is the only theme available for free.

Quick Recap

Let's be clear: you will hardly be able to customize anything with this plugin, in its free version. But if you're fine with the only available theme, why not use it to hide your WordPress site in Maintenance mode.

Otherwise, I don't see the point of using it. Or try the Pro version, which costs $23.

And the winners are…

The plugin I found the most complete is Coming Soon Page & Maintenance by Seedprod. Closely followed by the paid version of Maintenance, which I also really enjoyed.

You will be able to use these two Swiss knives to create a WordPress Coming Soon page, as well as a maintenance page. As long as you invest a little money.

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For those looking for a free version, I liked WP Maintenance, Under Construction and Minimal Coming Soon & Maintenance Mode. One of these three plugins will be fine if you want to perform a maintenance operation on your site.

Finally, I'd like to ask you two final questions: do you see an interest in using a plugin to create an under construction/maintenance page? If so, which one did you choose for your site?

Please explain to me why in the comments and share your findings and feedback.