It’s a little expensive at $75/year, but Covenant Eyes is — by far — the best software I’ve seen in the vital area of helping people avoid internet temptation. It’s outstanding at separating wheat (tame sites) from chaff, much better than its main accountability competitor, X3Watch, and leagues better than client-based filtering software like Cybersitter. It’s been running great on my machines for many months.

Covenant Eyes has yet to release its filtering software, but it will use the same host technology as their accountability software. So what’s the difference, you ask, between filtering and accountability software?

Filtering software blocks access to sites that it deems bad. It’s especially useful when dealing with small kids who may not know where they are going. There is a password-protected area in the software where you can control the filtering preferences.

Accountability software lets you go wherever you please. However, it periodically emails a report to an accountability partner of your choosing (the partner can also review reports online). The email report is ranked so that any sites that Covenant Eyes deems offensive will show up at the top. The report for Covenant Eyes is concise and clear, easy for your accountability partner to scan in a few minutes.

The Covenant Eyes accountability software is all most adults will need, but those wanting an extra level of protection (e.g. avoiding an inadvertent visit to a fishy site) should consider using both once the filter is available.

1/6/08 UPDATE: The filtering software is now available.