The maintenance of a website makes it possible to make major changes to a site or to correct certain problems while preserving the site’s data and files, without visitors impacting them by their presence.
Shopify does not have a maintenance mode officially integrated into their CMS, however it is quite possible to create a maintenance using other Shopify features.
With these features, you can block access to visitors by redirecting them to a third-party page that will announce that the site is temporarily closed.
So you can perform tests and other changes on your Shopify store with peace of mind.
Find out now how to put your Shopify store on maintenance and when you should schedule maintenance for your store.
Start maintaining a Shopify store
To carry out the maintenance of a Shopify store , you have two possibilities to block access to your site to your visitors.
The first method uses password protection, a feature offered by Shopify to restrict access to a store to users who have the password to enter it.
The second method is to pause the Shopify store to prevent visitors from accessing its content.
Enable password protection on Shopify
By enabling password protection on your Shopify store you will prevent visitors without the password from accessing your store and the products you sell on it.
The manipulation is simple, follow the following steps to activate the password protection which will allow you to put your Shopify store on maintenance:
- Go to your Shopify store preferences
- Check the box “Enable password”
- Define a password, quite complex, allowing access to your shop in maintenance
- Write a short message telling your visitors that the store is currently open, but will be available again very soon.
Save the store changes and then try to access your Shopify store.
You will be redirected to your store’s protection page which prevents you from accessing your store.
Users with the password will be able to connect to the store by entering the password by clicking on “Enter with a password”:
If you want to disable maintenance for your Shopify store, just go back to store preferences and uncheck the “Enable password” box.
You can leave the password and the message for your visitors as such, they will be used for future maintenance of your store.
Pause a Shopify store
Another method to put a Shopify store on maintenance is to pause it. There are two types of breaks on a Shopify store with a paid plan:
- Pause and build
Forfait « Pause and build »
The first pause named “Pause and build” allows you to pause your Shopify store to continue building it.
This break has the advantage of reducing your monthly plan to $9 USD/month instead of your usual plan.
The downside is that your visitors will still be able to access your store, view collections and products, but won’t be able to place an order, it’s as if your Shopify store is turning into a showcase site.
You can combine this pause with password protection to prevent your visitors from accessing your store during the pause while enjoying the benefit of the pause.
Changing your plan to the “Pause and build” plan is possible in the settings of your store then in the “Package” section.
Then click on “Pause or cancel subscription” and choose the “Pause and Build” package.
Validate your choice, after checking the plan details, by clicking on “Switch to Pause and Build”.
The second pause named “Pause” puts your Shopify store on full pause.
You will no longer be able to edit your Shopify store and no one will be able to access it except people with admin access.
This pause puts your store on standby, you will no longer pay for a Shopify plan for a maximum period of 3 months and then you will automatically switch to the “Pause and Build” plan.
Putting a Shopify store on full pause or standby can be useful if you have things to fix outside of your online store, to give you time until you reopen your e-commerce.
You can put Shopify store on hold by going to your store settings and then to the “Package” setting.
On the plans page, click on “Pause or cancel subscription” and then on the plan “Pause for 90 days”.
Check the Pause plan details and when you want to enable Pause, click “Pause Store”.
When to put your Shopify store in maintenance?
There are several reasons to put a Shopify store in maintenance. The main reasons are for important updates or fixing impacting errors.
To know when these errors or updates appear, you need to monitor your store activity, which is possible through third-party tools.
Monitor 404 Pages with Google Search Console
The ” Search Console ” platform offered by Google is a very powerful tool that is not only used to monitor your SEO performance.
Thanks to the “Google Search Console” you can detect your pages that redirect to a 404 error.
After connecting your Shopify store to the Google Search Console you can, in the “Coverage” section, view all the URLs of your site that Google has discovered and which return a 404 error.
Make significant changes
One of the reasons why you should put your store in maintenance would be to perform a major update on it.
But what updates should you make to your store?
To answer this question, you can ask your customers or observe the behavior of your visitors on your store. Your customers have had an experience on your online store, some have sometimes had an interesting experience to know.
By conducting an “ NPS ” survey with your customers, you will have feedback allowing you to define what changes you need to make to your store.
If you do not yet have enough customers to survey or if you want to combine this survey technique with an analysis of your visitors, you can implement two actions on your store:
- Perform A/B tests on certain important or problematic pages
- Monitor the behavior of your visitors
By setting up A/B tests on some of the pages of your store, you will be able to analyze the version that converts or that best solves a problem on your store.
Then with tools such as ” Hotjar “, you will be able to see in real time how your visitors behave on your site, and if there are pages or elements of your store that create blockages to navigation or conversion.
So after you have enough data, you can make the necessary changes during a maintenance to improve the user experience on your Shopify store.
Although Shopify does not initially offer a real maintenance mode for stores, you can successfully put your store in maintenance thanks to various features offered by the CMS.
If you use several tools to know when to put your Shopify store in maintenance, you should add the integration codes of these tools to Google Tag Manager to avoid losing the installation and configuration of these third-party tools with each maintenance.
Since Shopify doesn’t have a built-in maintenance mode, it’s more difficult to customize the maintenance page as desired or manage third-party tools.